After just writing about the importance of seeing fitness as something that encompasses body, mind and spirit, I wasn’t surprised to read about research just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which indicate that regular exercise may help prevent cognitive problems. Specifically it’s found that those who remain physically fit during the mid-life years were almost 40% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Previous research has found that regular exercise can prevent a host of other health problems, such as arthritis, certain types of cancer and stroke. It’s also been found that an individual’s level of health during the middle years may even predict future heart health.
The great news about this study is that even if a person wasn’t physically active during their 20’s and 30’s, becoming active during the middle years was still found to result in positive benefits. The reality is that fitness levels can be improved at any age, and every little bit helps.
A study from the Journal of Neurology also found that exercise reduced the amount of plaque buildup in the arteries. This has not only a positive effect on the heart but was even connected to improved memory and performing better on mental acuity tests.
What’s good for the body may very well be just as good for the brain. If that isn’t motivation to get up and get moving, I don’t know what is.
Maybe you have a friend or family member suffering from dementia, or you know of someone with this disease. I have a friend who works with dementia patients and it’s a very sad thing to watch.
As a middle-aged woman, I’m becoming more and more concerned about my health and doing what I can to live a fitter lifestyle. Knowing that exercise could impact my mind as well as my body gives me even more reasons to remain physically active.