Tag Archives: dementia

Dementia Can’t Be Cured, But This Trick Will Help You Avoid It

Dementia Can’t Be Cured, But This Trick Will Help You Avoid It

Jennifer J Heisz

Health, Americas

Exercise is good for more than just your body.

Key point: Exercise protects our memories from being erased and our latest research shows that it is never too late to start.

For the first time in human history, older people outnumber younger people. This has created unique health challenges. Dementia may be one of the scariest — a debilitating condition that erases memories; a condition without a cure.

But dementia does not have to be your fate. Exercise protects our memories from being erased and our latest research shows that it is never too late to start.

As an associate professor in the department of kinesiology at McMaster University, I direct a team of researchers in the NeuroFit Lab, where we’ve shown that physical inactivity contributes to dementia risk as much as genetics.

Our latest research suggests that the intensity of the exercise matters. We enrolled sedentary seniors in a new exercise program and in just 12 weeks their memories improved. But this only happened for those who walked at a higher intensity, and their memory gains were directly related to their improvements in physical fitness.

Our next step is to understand how exercise alters the brain — so we can establish personalized exercise prescriptions for brain health in aging.

Train for a healthy brain

In our growing aging population, we are all at some risk of developing dementia. This is because a certain amount of our fate is predetermined by biological factors. Aging is a critical risk factor for dementia and certain genes also increase our risk.

Read more: Downsizing to an early death? Why exercise is so important as you age

Recently, however, we have begun to appreciate the role that lifestyle plays. New evidence reveals decreasing dementia rates despite an increasing aging population. The reason? Improvements in living conditions, education and health care.

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