Resistance Training Exercise May Help Fight Off Alzheimer’s

Photo Courtesy SingleMindedWomen.com

If you have ever had to watch over someone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia, you know how hard it is to see someone you care about diminish in energy, health and mentality. You also know the toll it takes on the entire family, and other loved ones, and the time and energy involved just to try to maintain an individual that is slowly and gradually failing in health.

What if there was something you can do to help prevent this from happening to you, or to those you care about? Although exercise is definitely a must for many reasons, it is not the only way to prevent dementia later in life. Diet, exercise, vitamin D, stress reduction and proper sleep, mind exercises (crossword puzzles, taking classes, reading books, etc.)

Strength Training Exercise and Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference presented new studies this year showing that resistance exercise and strength training may be a powerful preventative technique for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Although all exercise may help fight off cognitive decline, strength training seemed to show the best improvement in preventing dementia.

Everyone needs to incorporate some form of strength training in a well rounded exercise program. I like to do interval cardio a couple of times a week, rotating it with yoga, walking, cycling and strength training. In a way, yoga is a bit like strength training in that it helps to work the muscles in your arms, but for good measure, using light to medium heavy handbells is a great option.

Other Than Exercise, What Else Can Fight Alzheimer’s?

In my past article entitled, Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s, I spoke about how Dr. Mary Newport helped improve her husband’s cognitive abilities with the addition of coconut oil to his diet. Many people with Alzheimer’s have a hard time using glucose in their brains as an energy source. Coconut oil helps to promote a second form of energy, called ketone bodies, thus helping the brain function with a secondary energy pathway.

This is one reason why we should limit the amount of grains and sugars we eat. One of the main reasons why I believe Alzheimer’s is rising, and why it is predicted that 16 million people will be affected by it by 2050, is because many people are eating a large amount of grains and simple sugars from processed foods. Our bodies, and our brains, shouldn’t have to handle that much glucose after every single meal and snack. Plus, with fat being demonized, we are not receiving enough quality, short-chained and medium-chained triglycerides for brain health (like found in coconut oil).

Keeping your brain sharp as you age is also key, so read books about subjects you’re interested in, learn new things, take classes, anything that gets the motors in your brain moving! Take up a new hobby and start socializing. Keeping yourself busy with things you enjoy, while still giving yourself a short break every now and then, is a great way to stay involved in the world with a healthy mind and body.

This is The Healthy Advocate

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One Response to “Resistance Training Exercise May Help Fight Off Alzheimer’s”
  1. Healthy world 19 July 2012 at 12:53 am #

    It would be interesting to see a study from the flip side, i.e., not only does current training improve cognitive function, but whether prior training has an effect on rate of decline. Anecdotally, in undergrad I worked w/ a few hundred Alzheimer’s and dementia patients for ~2 years assessing cognitive screening tools. Those who came in appearing physically “healthier”, regardless of mental state and current activity levels, seemed to deteriorate slowest.

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