How to Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s
An AARP study in 2014 showed that half of all Americans believe things like crossword puzzles and mental tasks keep their brains healthy. Unfortunately – there’s very little scientific evidence that they do.
Instead, researchers have found that regular exercise is the best way to retain mental clarity, while cutting your risk of Alzheimer’s in half.
The area of your brain that is key to memory – called the hippocampus – shrinks as you age. Northeastern University’s Arthur F. Kramer, an expert on exercise and the brain, conducted studies that found hippocampi increased in men and women age 50-80 with regular exercise.
Other studies have shown regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, creates higher levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor). This protein repairs and protects the brain.
Harvard Medical School also weighed in on the subject, supporting the position that regular exercise slashed the risks of Alzheimer’s. UCLA has conducted extensive studies supporting exercise to maintain mental clarity while cutting risks of Alzheimer’s in half.
As a cardiologist, I’ve known for some time that heart health and brain health are inherently linked. Regular exercise helps ensure the best flow of blood to the brain by keeping blood vessels healthy.
Here are some exercise tips to help your brain:
- Lead a physically active lifestyle. Take the stairs. Use a standing desk. Go dancing instead of going to a movie.
- Exercise outside. Most gyms are full of germs and chemical cleaning toxins that harm your health. Be active with nature. Try hiking, walking, jogging, swimming, tennis…anything active outdoors.
- Get at least 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity (breathing heavy, but still able to talk) exercise each week.
- Do strength training two or more times each week. Here are some basic outdoor strength training exercises, and you can always find more online.
- Stay hydrated. Drink water.
Please keep in mind that exercise is one part of the healthy lifestyle. Eat organic, Paleo foods. Get sunshine. Get proper sleep. Reduce stress. Avoid toxins, especially in your personal grooming and household cleaning products. And exercise. It not only helps you maintain mental clarity, it helps all parts of your body as well.
Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s as well. Avoid aluminum in personal care products, cooking items, and canned beverages. Also, aluminum is in many childhood vaccines. Yikes!