There are numerous studies that cite various ways of preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. New research adds to this growing list of preventative measures.
Scientists have discovered that prescribing regular aerobic training may enhance brain function and cognition in those predisposed to Alzheimer’s.
Exercise as a combative measure to Alzheimer’s
The study, published in Brain Plasticity, was conducted on 23 adults with genetic predispositions for Alzheimer’s. The participants were all generally sedentary. They were split into two groups to see how aerobic exercise would affect them.
The first half of the group was educated on the benefits of an active lifestyle (but were not held accountable for actually incorporating physical activity into their routines). The second half of the group received personal trainers who made sure they did moderately intense treadmill exercise thrice-weekly for six months.
The low-intensity nature of the exercise and the fact that it was only three days a week made the training program sustainable. The researchers found that after six months of a less sedentary lifestyle, the second group’s bodies were better equipped to stay oxygenated during exercise sessions.
Along with this, the second group showed notable improvements in cognitive functioning (e.g. better focus, planning skills, multitasking ability, and remembering instructions).
Together, the increased oxygen to the brain and the improved cognitive function did wonderful things in terms of Alzheimer’s prevention. This is because overall brain glucose metabolism in the posterior cingulate cortex (the part of the brain associated with Alzheimer’s) was boosted.
“Our results demonstrate a significant effect of aerobic exercise training on a measure of executive function in our at-risk cohort,” the researchers wrote. “Enhancing executive function prior to Alzheimer’s-related cognitive decline may provide some measure of resilience to the disease.”
A cognitive conclusion
Though the research will have to be conducted on a larger group in order to solidify the results, the information is promising nonetheless. Combined with other Alzheimer’s-preventative measures, aerobic exercise does exceptional things for the brain — and implementing it can be as simple as going for a stroll around your neighborhood a few times a week.
In terms of keeping Alzheimer’s disease at bay, James E. Galvin, the director of the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health at Florida Atlantic University and author of a paper on the science of Alzheimer’s prevention told Considerable: “There are a whole lot of things we can specifically address quite effectively through lifestyle changes and practice. It doesn’t necessarily require medications.”