Prevention Pillar 1 - Regular Exercise

Regular exercise

This is the first instalment of the ‘Help to Reduce Your Risk and Protect Your Brain’series. The first prevention pillar that I will be writing about is regular exercise. According to professional health reports physical exercise helps to reduce the risk of dementia by 50%.

In addition to protecting against Alzheimer’s and dementia, regular exercise:

  • Reduces stress
  • Boosts mood
  • Improves memory
  • Increases energy

As physical exercise has the single biggest influence on dementia levels we want to provide you with tips on how to introduce exercise into your lifestyle. Even though taking up and following a healthy lifestyle is your responsibility, we can help to guide you through your first few steps.

Tip Number 1- Stick with the exercise regime for at least 1 month…

A new routine takes approximately 28 days to become a habit. After 1 month of exercising your exercise routine will start to feel natural. To keep you motivated set realistic goals and make sure you write them down somewhere where it will remind you, for example on a calendar or on the fridge door. Remember to reward yourself as this will help release good endorphins when exercising.

Tip Number 2- 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week…

Plan your exercise into your daily routine! Adding 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week should provide you with a healthy lifestyle. This exercise can involve walking, swimming, dancing, or any other activity that’s gets your heart rate up! Even small daily tasks like gardening, laundry and cleaning count as your aerobic exercise.

Tip Number 3- Balance and coordination exercises…

This type of exercise is very important as it can help to prevent falls. Falls are very common as you grow older and head injuries can increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Balance and coordination exercises help you stay agile. These exercises can include Yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates or exercise using balance balls and disks.

Tip Number 4- Muscles maintain a healthy brain…

Combining Aerobics and strength training don’t only increase muscle mass, they help you maintain a healthy brain. These two exercises combined together are better than either activity alone. For those over 65, adding 2-3 strength sessions to your weekly aerobic exercise routines may help to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s in half.

Tip Number 5- Protect your head…

Professional studies show that head trauma at any point in life can significantly increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Protect your brain by wearing fitted sports helmets, buckling your seatbelt and creating a safer environment.

Any exercise program can seem intimidating to begin with but you need to plan at your fitness level. You don’t have to start running or sign up for a gym membership; you need to look for small ways to add movement into your daily routine. Taking the stairs, walking instead of driving and parking at the far end of the parking lot can really help you make a difference.

Next week is pillar number 2: Healthy Diet. Remember you need to add all of the preventive pillars into your lifestyle to see the results!