Physical activity is encouraged for all adults and older adults. Specific exercise programs may need to be individualized as Alzheimer’s disease progresses; general tips on promoting physical activity are included here.
It is never too early or too late in life to get started; the benefits are substantial and too important not to take advantage of. Remember, most chronic health conditions like Alzheimer’s develop over long periods of time and ultimately impair your quality of life.
The key to gaining fitness and preventing Alzheimer’s and other chronic health conditions is consistency over time. You should be physically active on most if not all days of the week.
Look for ways throughout the day to move and try to avoid extended periods of sitting when at home or at work.
Strive to meet or even exceed the recommended guidelines for your age group as discussed in chapters 10 and 11. At a minimum you should build up to and maintain at least 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity exercise each week (e.g., five 30-minute sessions of walking, cycling, swimming, or some other form of aerobic activity you enjoy). As your fitness improves, including short bouts of higher-intensity exercise can stimulate further fitness gains.
Mix It Up
Incorporate a number of different exercise activities into your routine; mix it up and don’t do the exact same thing day after day.
Add Resistance Training
Some form of resistance training at least two times per week is important. This can consist of lifting weights, using dumbbells and resistance bands, or performing functional exercises that use your body weight for resistance. Maintenance of muscle strength is an important component of maintaining independence with aging and prevention of falls. Also Read: How To Master Art Of Strength Training
Maintaining social links and interacting with others may be an important component in preventing Alzheimer’s. Consider participating in a group exercise class. Most fitness centers and many community centers offer group classes that range from chair exercises for older
adults to more intense aerobic activities such as spinning, functional training, and step aerobics. Dancing can be fun and is an excellent aerobic activity that connects you with others.
Consult a Professional
Degreed and certified professionals such as Personal Trainers, Exercise Physiologists, and Clinical Exercise Physiologists can assist you with developing your exercise program and provide guidance as you progress along your health and fitness journey. Ask your health care provider if this might be beneficial for you.
Role of Physical Activity in Treating Alzheimer’s Disease
People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease should remain physically active for as long as possible. A consistent routine of physical activity promotes better sleep, improves mood, reduces anxiety, slows the rate of cognitive and physical decline, and allows you or your loved one to remain independent for a longer period of time. One of the pivotal challenges in Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive decline in physical function and mobility. This process can be accelerated when people with Alzheimer’s stop exercising and become sedentary. The resulting loss of physical fitness places them in a progressive downward spiral that negatively affects their muscles, bones, and physical capabilities. Joints lose their mobility and become stiff, and when this is combined with weakened muscles, gait changes make walking more challenging. The loss of strength and mobility affects balance, predisposing the person to falls, potential fractures, and other medical complications.
As cognition and physical fitness progressively worsen, depression, inadequate sleep, and mood changes become more apparent; daily living functions such as getting dressed and undressed, bathing, preparing meals, and transferring from one place to another become challenging. This results in a loss of autonomy and increases the need for care assistance. Also Read: Should I Workout Alone or In Group?
The health benefits derived from being physically active and consuming a nutritious diet are far-reaching and include the health of your
brain. Nutritional and physical activity habits are important components for preventing the development of Alzheimer’s disease in some people and delaying manifestation of symptoms in others, and are important treatment interventions in those who have symptomatic Alzheimer’s.