It’s a fact: physical activity has many health benefits. Did you know that being active can also improve your brain health? And keeping your brain healthy may help reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and help manage the symptoms.
Statistics Canada estimates that by 2030, 1 in 4 Canadians will be over the age of 65, and the World Health Organization reports that the risk for dementia doubles every five years after age 65. The good news is, by being physically active on a regular basis you can:
- Lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which are associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Increase blood flow to your brain, bringing oxygen and nutrients which keeps your brain healthy.
- Improve your mental well-being through activities that involve socializing and participating in community events or programs.
Physical Activity for People with Alzheimer’s Disease
Those who have Alzheimer’s disease can benefit greatly from being active, as can their caregiver. Being physically active may help:
- Minimize the development of mood changes, including depression or anxiety.
- Improve overall physical fitness which can help with carrying out daily tasks like shopping, housework, and personal grooming.
- Improve sleep, stress and energy – the same benefits everyone can achieve from regular physical activity.
Most types of physical activity are beneficial for those with Alzheimer’s disease. Walking is an activity that most people can do; it’s safe, has no cost, and can be done almost anywhere and anytime. Other recommended activities are: gardening, swimming, tai chi, household chores, and grocery shopping.
Remember that the qualified exercise professionals at the Physical Activity Line can help you choose an activity based on your personal preference, disease progression, and health status.
Being physically active is just one thing you to keep your brain healthy. Learn more about other healthy behaviours that maintain brain health and may help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.