Moves to slow de­men­tia

The Sun (Malaysia) - - LIFESTYLE -

ALZHEIMER’S dis­ease is the most com­mon form of de­men­tia, and with Septem­ber be­ing World Alzheimer’s Month and yes­ter­day [Sept 21] be­ing World Alzheimer’s Day, here are some of the best ex­er­cises to slow cog­ni­tive de­cline.

Aer­o­bic ex­er­cise Whether you choose walk­ing, danc­ing, or even gar­den­ing, two stud­ies pub­lished ear­lier this year found that vir­tu­ally any type of aer­o­bic ex­er­cise can be ben­e­fi­cial for im­prov­ing brain health, in­creas­ing brain vol­ume, and help­ing re­duce the risk of de­vel­op­ing Alzheimer’s by 50%.

Re­search car­ried out by a team from UCLA, Cal­i­for­nia, the US, also found that phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in­creased brain vol­ume, es­pe­cially in those aged 75 and older, lead­ing the team to sug­gest it is never too late to get in­volved in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity.

Yoga A small-scale study from UCLA and Aus­tralia’s Univer­sity of Ade­laide has found that par­tic­i­pants who at­tended classes of Kun­dalini yoga and prac­tised 20 min­utes of med­i­ta­tion every day showed big­ger im­prove­ments in vis­ual-spa­tial me­mory skills, which help with re­call­ing lo­ca­tions and nav­i­gat­ing, than those who at­tended me­mory en­hance­ment train­ing and prac­tised me­mory ex­er­cises daily.

Those in the yoga and med­i­ta­tion group also showed larger im­prove­ments in lev­els of de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety, cop­ing skills and re­silience to stress, which are im­por­tant when com­ing to terms with the on­set of cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment.

Weightlift­ing A Cana­dian study found that lift­ing weights twice a week helps to main­tain brain health.

The team looked at the ef­fect of weight train­ing on the brain’s white mat­ter, which is par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to le­sions (holes) as we age, caus­ing prob­lems with me­mory and think­ing skills.

The re­sults showed that those who did balanc­ing and stretch­ing ex­er­cises, or weight-trained just once a week showed a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the num­ber of white mat­ter le­sions.

But those who weight­trained twice a week showed less shrink­age of their white mat­ter, sug­gest­ing that if the min­i­mum thresh­old of work­ing out twice a week is achieved, lift­ing weights can have a pos­i­tive im­pact on the struc­ture of the brain. – AFPRe­laxnews

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