A Daily Walk May Lower Risk of Dementia and Lead to a Alzheimer's Cure!
Recent research has found important connections between cardiovascular wellness and brain health. So important are these links that the Center for Disease Control and the National Alzheimer’s Association has launched “Maintain Your Brain” initiatives. A daily walk can benefit both physical and mental health for all ages and provide powerful benefits for your brain according to the 2005 Sept 22/29 issue of JAMA, the Journal of American Medical Association. The article notes that older adults who walk the most have lower risk of dementia and intellectual decline.
We all know the obvious benefits of exercise…but knowing the statistics of what happens to your body if you are not active may be motivating, because every system of the body is affected, according to the Journal of Neuroscience, Sept. 2005. Immobility affects strength, which decreases 10-20% per week of immobility. Meanwhile muscle strength decreases 15% per decade from age 50-70 and at a rate of 30% after the age of 70. Bone density - of particular concern for women - can decrease 1-2% for every week of immobility. Cardiovascular resting heart rate increases 1 beat for every 2 days of immobility. The respiratory system is affected with mechanical restriction of breathing, building up mucus secretions. A general lack of flexibility causes muscle contractures. And skin is affected with decreased immobility causing edema or fluid retention and general breakdown of the skin. Knowing this, it’s time to get up off the couch!
Exercise derives its meaning from a Latin root meaning ”to maintain, to keep, to ward off”. In order for exercise to be successful, according to medical professionals, exercise should be planned, structured and repetitive to improve or maintain physical fitness - even a simple walk 30 minutes a day will be helpful.
Every year there are a multitude of walking events that offer walk opportunities to raise awareness of health issues and provide fun ways to stretch your walking goals. Examples include the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk, see www.alz.org/memory walk, or for a bigger challenge check out the breast cancer 3 day walk at www.the3day.org. Beginners should review www.thewalkingsite.com, which offers advice on how to begin a walking program. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…start now.
Editor’s Note: This information was submitted by Emma Justice, MSA, Marketing Director at Senior Care & Activities Center – Adult Day Care. She can be reached at 973-783-5589.