Effects of Exercise on the Brain

We know how important it is to be active for our physical health; however, research is now revealing even more far-reaching health benefits – namely, a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and a slowed rate of cognitive decline in seniors. The reason behind the connection is not clear, but there are two main theories under consideration that may explain the positive effects of exercise on the brain:

  1. Physical activity halts the forming of the plaques and tangles connected with Alzheimer’s, or
  2. It stimulates cognitive resilience, the capability for the brain to continue to operate regardless of the brain damage attributed to the disease.

An interesting study was conducted involving nearly 500 participants from the Rush Memory and Aging Project. The older adults committed, throughout their lives, to undergo a series of behavioral, cognitive, and biomedical tests, and also to donate brain, as well as other tissue, after death. Those performing the research focused particularly on the seniors’ final 2 years of life, measuring motor function, cognition, and daily physical activity.

Researchers evaluated brain tissue from the participants to detect signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, along with other forms of brain disease and damage. Almost across the board, at least one kind of brain damage or disease was detected; however, factoring in higher degrees of physical activity contributed to better cognitive function – supporting the theory of cognitive resilience countering the effects of neurodegeneration.

Considering that the research team focused in on the participants’ final 2 years of life, it’s unknown whether a lifetime of physical exercise had an impact on these outcomes, nor does it consider the fact that people who have a higher degree of cognitive functioning might have corresponded to a naturally higher rate of physical activity. Nonetheless, the research yields promising data to help further support the benefit of promoting exercise throughout aging.

We’d love to help the seniors you love kick off the new year with a restored focus on improving health and fitness levels! Our fully trained and knowledgeable caregivers can help in many ways, including:

  • Providing transportation to the doctor’s office for a physical and approval to start a new fitness program
  • Accompanying older adults to exercise classes, swimming, walking, or working out at the gym
  • Inspiring and motivating seniors to maintain higher amounts of physical activity
  • Planning and preparing healthy and balanced meals to supply seniors with all the energy necessary to stay active
  • And much more!

Contact At-Home Care Company, providers of expert in home care in Des Moines and surrounding areas, at (515) 292-2650 or (515) 963-4410 to arrange a no-cost in-home assessment and see how we can help make 2020 the best year yet for an older adult you love!

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