Exercise Better Than Games and Puzzles Against Alzheimer's?

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You’re probably inundated with the benefits of daily exercises at every turn; how it strengthens your body, helps you reach or maintain a healthy weight, tones your muscles, improves your mood, etc. Yet new research indicates that regular exercise can potentially prevent Alzheimer’s, or at least delay its onset.

Some people are genetically predisposed to developing this heart-wrenching form of dementia, and in the past most research pointed to regularly exercising the brain, keeping it active, in order to delay or prevent it all together (i.e., puzzles, taking college classes, reading every day, etc.).

However, the Neurology Journal recently published a study conducted in Scotland. Participants, close to 700 of them, were all born in the year of 1936, and at 70 years of age, were asked to rate their level of physical activity, from only the basics, like walking to the mailbox, to actively trying to keep in shape, like regular runs, trips to the gym, and other similar lifestyle choices. Three years later, researchers conducted MRIs on each participant, and found that the more active the participant was, the fewer markers there were for Alzheimer’s, including lesions and brain shrinkage.

These findings go hand in hand with what many professionals who regularly care for those with Alzheimer’s have witness anecdotally for a long time. Although the exact connection between exercise and Alzheimer’s is not yet known, researchers believe that it has something to do with the role exercise has in supporting a healthy heart, which has a direct effect on the health of one’s brain.

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