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Is exercise effective in preventing Alzheimer's disease?


Every time you open your phone to check social media or sometimes even your notifications, you have some sort of content related to exercise, its benefit, or the “call” for you to get your mat and exercise.

But why is this supposed trend so successful in its marketing?

Unless, of course, it has its benefits.



Let’s break some of them down to understand how they may help:


Exercise Helps with:


1. Increased endorphin levels.

Endorphins are chemical signals that increase the feeling of well-being and happiness and block the receptors for pain in the brain.

These signals can help you cope with stress or anxiety and alleviate your mood. What’s more? Studies have shown that endorphins increase even when acute forms of exercise are performed.


2. Increased Dopamine, Noradrenaline, and Serotonin levels

Dopamine, Noradrenaline, and serotonin are mood regulators that prevent anxiety and depression by providing emotional stability. Exercising helps increase dopamine levels in the body, therefore regulating your mood.


3. Momentary Increased Adrenaline levels

As mentioned in the book “Ikigai," a small amount of stress is actually a good thing as it helps you build healthier habits, smoke less, and drink less alcohol.

Small amounts of stress are usually acquired through small bouts of exercise, which leads to an increase in the hormone adrenaline. This hormone increases your heart rate and blood pressure. However, post-exercise, your body gets rid of this excess adrenaline naturally, which also reduces your angsty stress response in the longer run.




What happens when you have memory problems like dementia or Alzheimer’s?


With memory loss and dementia becoming more common, people are often wondering what they are and how they can treat them. Alzheimer's disease or senile dementia manifests itself in a gradual decline in mental functions that cannot be reversed.

It happens when proteins and cells in the brain become misfolded and build up, eventually destroying neurons and causing memory loss. The cause of this and how it can be prevented is still unknown.


What does exercise do to help with Alzheimer's?

Exercise and Alzheimer's are topics that aren't often discussed. When it is, it's usually about how exercise can lead to better memory, attention, and possibly even thinking.

Exercise has been shown to help with Alzheimer's by keeping your brain cells healthy, reducing stress, and improving your memory.

It has also been noticed that dopamine (the hormone we discussed above) decreases significantly in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's and other dementias by almost half, according to the Alzheimer's Association



What kind of exercise is most effective?


Aerobic Exercises have been shown to improve Alzheimer’s as cited by various researchers. These exercises help in the release of neurotropic substances (including signals of dopamine) in a much more efficient way.

Research suggests that regular physical activity helps maintain healthy brain connections, stimulates chemical messengers in the brain, and prevents toxic proteins from destroying them.



How can you build a routine with diet and exercise for the prevention of mental health disorders?

You will be surprised by how simple habits can be effective in preventing mental health disorders:-

  • Getting at least 7 hours of sleep

  • Eating food rich in omega-3 and fiber (Walnuts, Fresh Vegetables/Fruits, whole grains)

  • Performing Aerobic exercises (like walking) for a minimum of 20 minutes every day

  • Cutting down on digital screen time and spending more time offline.

To conclude, movements like running or bicycling can help ward off Alzheimer's disease as well as depression. Exercise can also be helpful for people who already have the disorder, improving their ability to perform daily activities.


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