Lifestyle Choices - Physical Activities

obesity and alzheimer's prevention

Get Moving!

In keeping with the belief that what’s good for your heart is good for your brain, physical activities and regular exercise can help improve both the health of your heart and blood vessels in the brain. They keep blood flowing to the brain, nourishing existing brain cells and even creating new ones.

Long-term physical activity, including exercise, appears to offer one of the best protective effects against the risk of dementia or a delay in the onset of symptoms. Moderate daily activity also can substantially reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, midlife obesity and the metabolic syndrome—all of which may decrease the chance of dementia in later life.

Both physical activity and exercise are important. What’s the difference between the two? According to the National Institute on Aging, physical activities are activities that get your body moving such as walking the dog, raking leaves and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Exercise is a form of physical activity that is specifically planned, structured and repetitive, such as weight training, tai chi or an aerobics class.

Before you begin exercising, it’s a good idea to discuss an exercise program with your physician, especially if you have a chronic condition.

To get moving for brain health, current research suggests these steps:

The spin-off benefits of physical activity and exercise include reducing other risk factors for dementia:

Types of Exercise

Different types of exercise produce different and/or multiple health benefits:

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Exercise Tips

Even though the message is all around us that exercise is one of the best things to do for good health, are you still holding back?

The National Institute for Aging, in its publication “Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute on Aging,” offers these tips to leap over the barriers:

Set yourself up for success from the start.

At times, you may need extra motivation in order not to curb your enthusiasm.

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The President’s Council on Physical Fitness

According to The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, “The decision to carry out a physical fitness program cannot be taken lightly. It requires a lifelong commitment of time and effort.”

The council offers fitness guidelines for an average healthy adult to begin and maintain a personal physical fitness program.

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