Eight rea­sons to in­clude ex­er­cise

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Cover Story -

In The End of Alzheimer’s, Dr Bre­desen says sit­ting is the new smok­ing. “We lead our lives sit­ting at com­put­ers, sit­ting in class, sit­ting in movies, sit­ting in our cars, sit­ting in meet­ings, sit­ting on the sofa watch­ing tele­vi­sion or play­ing games on our phones. We are sit­ting our­selves to death.” Re­search has shown not only that ex­er­cise is ben­e­fi­cial, but that sit­ting is detri­men­tal to cog­ni­tive and phys­i­cal (es­pe­cially car­dio­vas­cu­lar) health. The most rel­e­vant ben­e­fits of ex­er­cise for cog­ni­tion: 1. Ex­er­cise re­duces in­sulin re­sis­tance, which as you now know is a key player in Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

2. It in­creases ke­to­sis, which, among other ef­fects, in­creases pro­duc­tion of the neu­ron-sup­port­ing mol­e­cule BDNF.

3. It in­creases the size of the hip­pocam­pus, a key re­gion for mem­ory and one that shrinks in Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

4. It im­proves vas­cu­lar func­tion, which is cru- cial for neu­ronal and synap­tic health.

5. It re­duces stress, a key trig­ger of Alzheimer’s-pro­mot­ing in­flam­ma­tion.

6. It im­proves sleep, an­other ne­ces­sity for cog­ni­tive health.

7. It in­creases the sur­vival of new­born neu­rons that are cre­ated in the brain process called neu­ro­ge­n­e­sis.

8. It im­proves mood.

What is the op­ti­mal ex­er­cise for cog­ni­tion? You want to com­bine aer­o­bic ex­er­cise, such as jog­ging or walk­ing or spin­ning or danc­ing, with weight train­ing, prefer­ably at least four or five days per week, for 45 to 60 min­utes in to­tal each day. Work up to this slowly, stretch out, and take care of your joints. Of course, with the re­duc­tion of in­flam­ma­tion that comes with the pro­to­col, your joints should ac­tu­ally do very well. If you are hav­ing trou­ble get­ting started, ask a trainer, fam­ily mem­ber, or friend to help.

Ex­tract from The End of Alzheimer’s

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