Dementia is an Umbrella term used to describe a wide variety of neurodegenerative diseases. These can include: Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia, Huntington’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Dementia related to Lewy bodies. These conditions can happen to anybody however, they are more prevalent in the ageing population with most individuals experiencing symptoms after the age of 65. These early signs can be:
- Progressive and frequent memory loss
- Personality change
- Apathy and withdrawal
- Loss of ability to complete daily tasks
Exercise has many known benefits including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, strengthening muscles and bones, and also improving mental health. However, recent research suggests that regular exercise also appears to benefit Brain health as it is essential for maintaining blood flow to the brain and may even stimulate brain cell growth and survival. Studies have demonstrated that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their cognitive function and are at less risk of developing Dementia. The research is so promising worldwide that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends exercise on a regular basis to assist in preventing these cognitive diseases.
So, what is the right exercise? The simple answer is all of it. Aerobic, Resistance, Flexibility and balance exercises all contribute in improving our physical functioning and also our brain health. Therefore, it is recommended that an exercise regime involving all components be undergone by individuals wanting the most successful outcomes. Of course, a healthy well-balanced diet should also be implemented in preserving brain health. Dementia Australia suggest A number of dietary factors have been associated with a reduced risk of developing dementia. These include:
- Lower intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fats
- Higher intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
- Higher intake of omega-3 fats
- Higher intake of some antioxidants and vitamins
- Higher intake of vegetables and fruits
- Moderate consumption of alcohol (with caution – too much alcohol poses a significant health risk)
So, it’s possible that the key to everlasting memories can be as simple as a healthy lifestyle.
Written by Michael Ceccarelli