Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

Has your mother, grandmother, father, grandfather, or other family member suffered from the degenerative Alzheimer’s disease? If so, you have more than likely asked, is this terrible disease genetic? Can it be prevented?

Well unfortunately the answer is yes, it does have a genetic component.

If a family member has had the disease, you have an increased risk of developing it. If more than one family member has it, your risk again increases. However, there are ways to prevent Alzheimer’s. Here is where exercise comes in.

Alzheimer’s disease, which causes a loss of brain function, memory and physical function, can be prevented by reducing its’ risk factors. No, you can’t change your genetics. But, there are many other risk factors, similar to those of heart disease, which you can work on. Having a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight, low testosterone levels (which occurs with aging), or having metabolic syndrome (combined obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes) are all included and are largely related to a lack of physical activity.

So how does exercise actually help? Exercise reverses all aspects of metabolic syndrome – it can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body fat percentage and blood sugar levels. Exercise can also increase testosterone levels to protect brain cells and preserve cognitive function.

Ok, now how much exercise do you need to do? And what type? Well, cardiovascular exercise (eg. walking, swimming, cycling) should be done for 20-60 minutes, 3-5 times per week at a moderate to high intensity. Resistance exercise, involving weight-bearing exercises for all the major muscle groups should be done at least twice a week.

For an appropriate exercise program to suit your individual needs, be sure to seek advice from an accredited exercise physiologist.

‘Regular physical exercise is probably the best means we have of preventing Alzheimer’s disease today, better than medications, better than intellectual activity, better than supplements and diet.’ (Dr Ronald Peterson, Director of the Alzheimer’s Research Centre at te US Mayo Clinic)

Clinton Joynes

Accredited Exercise Physiologist

About Clinton Joynes

I am a motivated person who is interested in all things relating to exercise. I have worked with elite athletes to people with chronic illnesses. I love motivating others to achieve their goals. I believe in a personal and fun approach to life and work.

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