It seems like everyone keeps looking for those magic little pills. But after two failed “Decades of the Brain,” mainstream medicine has yet to come up with one that can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease (AD). So it’s not been from lack of trying.
The good news is, you can maintain a healthy brain and body well into your 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond, just by engaging in activities most people consider fun hobbies — going out dancing, working in the garden, taking a dip in the pool, etc. According to new research, these enjoyable, healthy activities can cut your risk of developing AD by a staggering amount.
In this exciting, new study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers analyzed brain scans and evaluated lifestyle habits of 876 adults ages 65 years and older enrolled in a long-term, cardiovascular health study.
At the study’s outset, the researchers gave MRI scans to the participants to measure brain size. They also asked the participants about their physical activity, memory function, and cognitive function. They also asked the men and women about their participation in 15 different recreational activities over the prior two weeks, including bicycling, dancing, swimming, walking, as well as gardening and raking.
What’s good for the heart is good for the brain
With this data, the researchers estimated weekly caloric expenditure. And here’s what they found…
First, any activity that got the participants moving on a regular basis helped them build grey matter in the brain. Grey matter contains the all-important neurons, or brain cells, that help keep away dementia. Overall, more gray matter means a healthier brain and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
The researchers also linked greater physical activity with larger brain size in areas linked to learning and memory. Furthermore, men and women who engaged in regular physical activity saw their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease decline by half. Plus, for 25 percent of those who already had mild cognitive impairment, physical activity also benefitted their brains.
These results don’t surprise me one bit. As I always report, what is good for your heart is also good for your brain. Like the heart, the brain is highly metabolically active. And it needs a steady supply of blood and oxygen. Moderate exercise increases blood flow and deep breathing infuses more oxygen into the blood.
There is no great mystery to unravel, task to master, or magic pill to uncover.
You don’t have to run marathons, spend hours in the unhealthy, unpleasant environment of a gym, or drive yourself to physical exhaustion and dehydration. Just find an activity you enjoy and feel comfortable doing. Then, step out for a walk or onto the dance floor. Or get out in the garden and help Nature create beautiful flowers, or delicious, healthy foods.
These kinds of simple, healthy, happy activities are part of my new multi-step Alzheimer’s Prevention and Reversal Protocol, which I plan to release later this spring. It’s in the final stages of development now, and I will be sure to let you know as soon as it’s ready. So stay tuned!
- “Longitudinal Relationships between Caloric Expenditure and Gray Matter in the Cardiovascular Health Study,” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (www.content.iospress.com) 3/11/2016