How Exercise & a Healthy Diet Play a Role in Combating Dementia

Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s Disease is the leading cause, is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other vital mental functions. This disease can impair reasoning and change one’s personality. We can start developing two types of proteins that cause this disease, amyloid and tau. These proteins have been found developing in the brain as young as 30 years old.

Aerobic exercise can help decrease the chances of having dementia and reduce the amount of tau protein in the brain. In older adults, aerobic exercise shows to improve memory, mental awareness and cognitive functions. Along with exercising, having a healthy diet can reduce production of such proteins. Performing aerobic type exercises can help increase the size of the hippocampus which is the main area involved with memory. It has also shown to reverse cognitive loss by two years. Meditation has shown to produce similar results. A 20-30-minute moderate aerobic exercise several days a week has shown to help. Exercising has not shown it can prevent Dementia; however, it can decrease the chances when paired with a healthy diet. If you are unsure about what a healthy diet consists of, seeing a dietitian would be beneficial. Studies have shown living a healthy lifestyle consisting of eating well, daily exercise, staying socially active and engaging the brain in new activities can help keep the brain healthy.

There have been correlations between the cardiovascular system and how it affects the brain. Our neurons need oxygen to function properly and our brain uses about 20% of the blood pumped out by the heart. People who suffer from hypertension, Type II diabetes or obesity will not have properly functioning blood vessels which leads to poor blood flow causing a deprived oxygen level for the neurons. Research has shown a healthy brain comes from a healthy heart. If you have further questions on how to achieve a healthy cardiovascular system (heart health) or dietary lifestyle come to United Medical Fitness and schedule a consultation with our Kinesiologists or Dietitian.