Exercise and Alzheimer's

Leah Health Guide
  • This just in:  The Associated Press announced that a new study was presented at the 2008 International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in Chicago on Sunday, July 27, 2008.  Released by the Universtity of Kansas, Kansas City, Kansas, the study showed that regular exercise in those with early Alzheimer’s disease resulted in less deterioration of the hippocampus area of the brain.  This area is important for memory and balance.  The university used MRI and other neuroimaging tools to analyze how exercise affects those with early Alzheimer’s disease.  Another report from ICAD 2008 showed that a twelve month home based exercise program reduced falls and improved balance in patients with dementia.  Falls have a negative impact on a person’s general quality of life.  Once injured, the patient is often housed in a nursing home, increasing mortality rates and adding significant costs to the community.  With this information, it is even more apparent now that exercise is a key element in improving the lives of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

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    Lament:  Knowing all this…and it’s not the first time I’ve heard it…why can I not get into a regular habit of exercise?


    I found some comforting words from Aldous Huxley:

     “ Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life.  The only completely consistent        people are the dead.” *


    I shouldn’t beat up on myself about not exercising; I’d use a lot of negative energy and accomplish nothing in the end but depression.  Rather, I need to take it one step—literally—at a time.  Start today with walking.  Just do it.  Get up from this computer and take a walk.  Maybe later, I will get on the treadmill…


    There are those “iffy” words:  maybe, later, will get… These words seem to permeate my whole day—which is exactly why I do not get into a regular habit of exercise.  Do you do that, too?  I need to just DO IT:  take a walk, swim in the pool, dance to the music…just DO IT.  I need to make exercise fun.  Having a regularly scheduled time just doesn’t seem to be the way for me to go.  I can park farther out and walk briskly to the store.  I can walk—not taking my dog, as there is a lot of standing around time with her.  I can do small stretches of exercises throughout the day…I don’t need to be regimented…


    In light of the research being done and the results showing the value of regular exercise, I am going to start my regiment by increasing exercise of all types throughout the day…let’s see how that works.  I’d like to hear from others who struggle with getting in regular exercise, too.  There’s always more than one way to view things—and exercise is no exception! 


    *Aldous Huxley, 1894-1963, a novelist, humanist, and pacifist, wrote A Brave New World and was considered a leader of modern thought.

Published On: July 28, 2008