Exercise for Prevention

A study calculated that an intervention that would delay the onset of AD by 12 months would lead to 9.2 million fewer cases of AD globally. Research has estimated that reducing inactivity by 10-25% could prevent between 380,000 to one million cases of AD worldwide. Based on published reports, if the cost of care for an AD patient is $10,000 more per year than a patient without AD, we would save 3.8 to 10 billion dollars a year.

 

Despite the benefits of exercise, research suggests that the subpopulation of older adults actually exercise less. In general, health-promoting behaviors tend to increase with age, with the exception of exercise. Different factors as to why this age group is more sedentary include: lack of self-efficacy, inadequate education, poor support, limited access to recommended exercise and abnormalities of mobility.

Isolation, cost, lack of socialization as well as poor physician emphasis are also factors. Exercise is a cost effective, non-pharmaceutical treatment to delaying the onset of dementia and improves outcomes. A critical challenge is how to help older adults overcome obstacles that prevent them from developing a healthy exercise habit. One major obstacle is a lack of motivation for exercise.

A growing amount of research reveals that an “enriched” environment may be crucial to improving brain health. “Enriched” simply means that influences such as physical exercise and intellectual stimulation can affect your brain’s functioning. Findings from brain health studies at UC Berkeley have corroborated the importance of exercise on brain health.

It all makes perfect sense, as the brain is a vital part of the body. Since it is comprised of cells nourished by your blood, your heart’s health also plays an important role in your brain’s wellbeing. Regular physical activity improves cerebral blood flow, which promotes better mental functioning. So, it’s easy to see why both physical and intellectual exercises would help improve brain functioning.



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