Blog #582 Avoiding Alzheimer’s – part I

Avoiding Alzheimer’s

https://www.health.harvard.edu/alzheimers-and-dementia/what-can-you-do-to-avoid-alzheimers-disease

I’ve looked at avoiding Alzheimer’s in the past (but a long time ago) – maybe a year.  

Let’s see what Harvard University Medical School has to say on the subject.

First – the bad news.  The article says “What causes Alzheimer’s? We still aren’t sure.”  But, there is a lot of research going on. I think of all the great health successes from the past:  polio, “The most convincing evidence is that physical exercise helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s or slow the progression in people who have symptoms,” says Dr. Marshall. “The recommendation is 30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercise, three to four days per week.”tuberculous, smallpox, and various vaccines against many major diseases for children and adults.  [Reminder to Bruce, I am due for my second Shingles vaccine shot].

But, on the good side – improving our lifestyle is important.

Exercise:  The article says “”The most convincing evidence is that physical exercise helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s or slow the progression in people who have symptoms,” says Dr. Marshall. “The recommendation is 30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercise, three to four days per week.”

This isn’t’ onerous.  30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercises, three to four days per week is very doable for most people.  Cut TV out for a certain time and take a nice walk around the block. I like to walk. Fortunately, I live in central Texas where in the winter, most days I can get outside for a walk.  I also joined the city recreation center that has a nice indoor track. [Aside, I might like to walk, but I don’t really like treadmills, yes, I get a walk, but the view doesn’t change.]  The indoor track is on the second floor and overlooks a large basketball court, so I look down on basketball, volleyball and just kids playing hoops. I just recently did this, but already I’m thinking of my walking in the Texas heat of the summer – in this air conditioned community recreation center (which also has an indoor and outdoor pools).

A second place to walk (rain, cold, or heat) in your big box grocery or retail store.  I do a fair amount of the grocery shopping, so I turn on my “MapMyWalk” feature on my iPhone as I walk around HEB or Walmart.  I can almost always get one-mile or more just finding all the things on the grocery list. (And, there have been times when I intentionally go to the back of the store to get more steps.).  The MapMyWalk feature is free (with some ads), you can get split times for quarter, half and three-quarter miles (as well as other settings), pace, time of day, and music). Lately, I’ve been downloading audiobooks (free from my library) and listening to books as I walk.  There are also free public domain LibriVox books – with Wilma Cather, Charles Dickens, and more historical authors.

A third way is to get a pedometer and count your steps during the day.  Many people like to get 10,000 steps in a day (which translates to about five miles for most people).  

There are other activities.  At this city recreation center, pickleball is a high demand activity for seniors.  Kind of a mix between tennis and badminton, it is a fast-paced game, but not as strenuous as handball or racquetball.  Swimming is also good (again, at this rec center many people swim laps for their exercise.

But, the concept is MOVE.  As the article says, “that physical exercise helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s”.  

Maybe you are in the 40’s or 50’s and say “I just don’t have time to exercise”.  Well, that might mean in your 70’s or 80’s you will be more susceptible to Alzheimer’s!!  Pay now, or pay later!!

There is also some evidence of hereditary factors – so if Alzheimer’s has been in your family’s history, get out and exercise!!

In my brain, I’m thinking of exercise as being ‘heart healthy’. Maybe we can be like Grinch and have our heart grow by three sizes when we love and forgive (and realize that Christmas is about LOVE).

Tomorrow, I’ll look at some other good factors – like the Mediterranean Diet and Getting Enough Sleep.

See you tomorrow!!!

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White

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