Excerise Cuts Risk of Dementia by 50 Percent

I’ve been walking a lot to train for our upcoming 500-mile fundraising walk for The Lewy Body Dementia Association. I love to listen to podcasts to pass the time–10 miles takes a long time to walk! The other day I listened to Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, and Seattle Pacific University about the affect of exercise on dementia. The bottom line…exercise boosts brain power! Maybe it was because I was walking as I was listening, but I found the podcast fascinating and I thought I would share some of the information in it. (You can download it from iTunes U.)

Since ancient times, early humans who could move the farthest and had the most stamina thrived. It was simply survival of the fittest. Nearly two million years ago, the average Homo erectus averaged 12 miles per day, which coincidentally is the same amount we will be walking during our Camino walk! The theory is humans were designed to be mobile and we are at our best when we are physically moving.

There is ONE Predictor of Living A Good, Long Life

The subject of aging has been studied thoroughly and we all know regular exercise is a key contributor. But having a healthy body is only one part of aging well. The second part of aging well is maintaining cognitive abilities. More recent studies have linked exercise with improved cognitive performance later in life. And specifically, studies show that the risk for dementia is cut IN HALF if you exercise, both aerobically and strength training. The best news is that you don’t have to do a lot of exercise to reap the rewards; just moderate walking a few times a week is enough to improve your cognitive abilities.

The bad news is that exercise only improves the odds of not getting dementia by 50%, which means you still have a 50 percent chance of becoming a victim of dementia. By the way, studies have also shown exercise is also a therapy for helping control Parkinson’s Disease, which is a primary component of Lewy Body Dementia. My Dad loved exercise! He played golf and jogged daily into his mid-60s. Even as his health was going downhill with Lewy Body, he fought back by continuing to walk almost daily until he fell and broke his hip. It makes me wonder if maybe Dad would have died earlier or had worse symptoms if he hadn’t led such an active lifestyle.

Dad Never Stopped Walking

Dad Never Stopped Walking

Strive to Be in the Good 50 Percent

By the time someone is already in mid-life, it is harder to motivate yourself to begin a lifestyle of exercise but the studies show it’s never too late to improve your body and mind. But if you ever needed a kick in the pants to begin exercising, isn’t cutting your chance of dementia IN HALF enough? If you don’t know what a life with dementia is like, take a drive to a memory care facility and I’ll bet you decide to walk home rather than drive if you can reduce your chances of ending up there by 50 percent.

Donate for More Research

The Lewy Body Dementia Association needs more money to help fund studies to understand Lewy Body and to research for a cure. Please click on the orange box on the right to DONATE NOW. You will be linked directly to CrowdRise to make your donation to LBDA. (100% of your donation, minus a small CrowdRise administrative fee, goes to LBDA.)

Training Walk for LBDA

Training Walk for LBDA

 

 

 

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