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Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

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Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

WLR Blog
Posted: Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Exercise tops in keeping brains healthy

Could you lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease by exercising regularly? Recent research suggests it’s possible. 

Increasingly, lifestyle factors are being studied to see how lifestyle changes affect the brain and may contribute to preventing dementia. Many researchers think that regular exercise is the No. 1 factor in preserving brain function. 

A study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference presented the results of a study on the relationship between exercise levels and the levels in the brain of beta amyloid plaques, protein fragments that are one of two brain abnormalities that define Alzheimer’s disease. The conference was held in July 2017 in London. 

According to an article on the conference, researchers at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia followed 139 subjects who carry a gene mutation that is known to cause Alzheimer’s. These subjects had not yet developed symptoms, but are destined to develop it because of the gene mutation. 

The researchers measured the levels of beta amyloid plaques and split the subjects into two categories: those who exercised 150 minutes or more of exercise per week, and those who exercised less than that. They found that those in the low-exercise group had higher levels than the subjects in the high-exercise group. 

Workouts that increase heart rate to 70 to 75 percent of maximum have been shown to be most effective in increasing blood flow to the brain and improvements in cognitive function such as reasoning, memory and language. But activity doesn’t have to be that strenuous to benefit mental function. Studies have shown benefits from practices such as yoga, tai chi and mindful movement, as well as combined aerobic exercise and strength training. 

While more research is needed to verify that exercise can delay the onset of dementia symptoms, the study excited scientists at the conference. The effects of exercise and other lifestyle changes will be investigated in a new $20 million, two-year study. The study of 2,500 adults who are at risk for cognitive decline, which will begin in 2018, was announced by the Alzheimer’s Association at the London conference. 

We know that exercise has many health benefits, including keeping your mind sharper. That’s why residents of Westminster at Lake Ridge can choose from a menu of activities at our Fitness Center and indoor heated pool, including workouts with free weights and other equipment, swimming and water aerobics, regularly scheduled exercise classes ranging from Zumba to tai chi and yoga, and other fitness activities including hikes on beautiful walking paths. 

Westminster at Lake Ridge is a continuing care retirement community devoted to offering residents an active, engaged and healthy retirement life. To learn more about this extraordinary retirement community, please call us at 703-436-8122 or request information here.

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