Eight reasons to include exercise
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