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Walking May Ward Off Alzheimer’s Disease

New studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association assert that sticking to a walking regimen at midlife and beyond can ward off Alzheimer's disease or at least delay its onset. The good news is that this kind of exercise doesn’t have to be as strenuous as jogging or sprinting. The most important factors are continuity – at least thirty minutes. Those who walked two miles a day outperformed mentally those who walked a quarter of a mile or less.

There have been many previous studies urging people to do aerobic exercise or more strenuous physical activity to stave off mental decline. However this latest study from the Netherlands' Wageningen University encourages those people who feel overwhelmed by a strenuous workout and just can’t get motivated to do it. However, this highly effective exercise regimen is as simple as putting on your sneakers and walking out the door.

Add to this walking routine the benefits of a Mediterranean diet rich in fish, olive oil, legumes, fruits and vegetables along with a little red wine and your brain will perform better as well as cardiovascular system; a healthy heart and brain both boost your potential for longevity, but even more important improved life quality regarding activities of daily living.

However, what the studies don’t discuss or analyze is the role walking and diet play in reducing stress. And who among us is not stressed – even by the mere of thought of getting Alzheimer’s Disease? Chronic stress unleashes an inflammatory process which could be damaging to both the heart and the brain. Exercise whether aerobic, strength training or walking, moves stress hormones out of the body while it improves blood flow to the heart and the brain.

Include a healthy meal plan like the Mediterranean Diet and you will improve mood with omega 3’s; note that a sunny disposition is associated with the eating habits and lifestyle of people living in Mediterranean countries.
It is true that Alzheimer’s conferences have flip-flopped on prevention even tipping to there-is-nothing- you-can-really-do- to-prevent-it. These latest studies assert that there are some things you can do to improve your odds. For me, when research resonates as true, especially research not based on a pharmaceutical industry, I’m going to follow through. And if you are not destined to get Alzheimer’s, exercising and healthy eating will make the golden years brighter.

For more information on caregiving read my book, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show



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