Stressed About Getting Alzheimer’s? Try Exercise

Stressed About Getting Alzheimer’s? Try Exercise
If you are worried about getting Alzheimer’s, especially if someone in your family has the disease, then you should supercharge your mental circuits with exercise. Many people hate exercising and come up with a myriad of excuses for not working out; perhaps a new study on Alzheimer’s will motivate you to run for your life – literally.

A group of researchers from the University of Kentucky demonstrated a positive correlation between fitness and blood flow to areas of the brain where the characteristic tangles and plaques are usually identified. Dr. Nathan Johnson the lead researcher explains, “We set out to characterize the relationship between heart function, fitness, and cerebral blood flow, which no other study had explored to date. In other words, if you’re in good physical shape, does that improve blood flow to critical areas of the brain? And does that improved blood flow provide some form of protection from dementia?” The results showed blood flow to critical areas of the brain was higher in those who were more physically fit. Worthy to note: Blood carries nutrients and oxygen to the brain.

Instead of stressing about Alzheimer’s as you observe the decline of a family member or friend, get up off the couch and do something about it. By the way stress unleashes an inflammatory process which predisposes the brain to Alzheimer’s. While this study is a more recent validation of the power of exercise, almost a decade ago a Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Ratey wrote Spark which presented to the reader the amazing connection between exercise and brain health – how you can change your brain.

What exercise will do for your brain:
  • Improve blood flow – oxygen and nutrients
  • Improve cardiac health which pumps blood more efficiently to the brain
  • Reduce stress which is inflammatory and damaging to brain health
  • Improve mood which promotes healthy behavior
  • Improve sleep which is brain protective
  • Sharpen your thinking at work to keep you relevant
You are never too old to begin an exercise program, nor are you too young. Did you know that the seeds of disease process for Alzheimer’s begin in the 20’s and 30’s? A new large scale study by a team of multidisciplinary researchers from the University of Chicago (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 16, 2016) reveals that chronological age itself plays almost no role in accounting for differences in older people’s health and well-being! Using what they call, a “comprehensive model” of health and aging, the team shows that emotional well-being, sensory function, mobility and good health behaviors are essential parts of an overall health profile that better predicts mortality.

In other words, if you want the real fountain of youth, exercise consistently. You will shed damaging stress hormones, improve skin tone, sharpen your brain, improve your balance making you less likely to fall, boost your immune system, improve sleep and make you feel more energetic and positive.

You won’t be measuring your age chronologically and neither will others, but rather by the quality of your workouts!
For more information on managing your stress and reclaiming your life read my book, Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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