Regular exercise plays a key role in healthy aging. In fact, getting up to 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week can help seniors maintain their ability to live independently longer than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Exercise is also known to improve mobility, flexibility and overall strength, reducing the risk of dangerous falls. Additionally, maintaining an active lifestyle can reduce hypertension and may even relieve chronic pain from conditions such as arthritis. But did you know exercise may also benefit your mind?

According to recent studies, there may be a correlation between maintaining a regular exercise routine and a decrease in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

The Impact of Exercise & Brain Health in Seniors

Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can put seniors at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia later in life. Regular exercise, particularly those that elevate your heart rate, can help seniors better manage these chronic conditions or decrease their risk of developing them in the first place, thus reducing the risk of cognitive decline.

Regular exercise increases the amount of blood flow to the brain, ensuring it gets the nourishment it needs to stay healthy. According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, when more oxygen is pumped into the brain, it increases important chemicals and hormones which can protect it from the natural reductions in brain connections naturally associated with aging. It also creates the ideal environment for new cell growth.

A study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease also found those who regularly engage in moderate intensity workouts were more likely to show healthy patterns of glucose metabolism, a key indicator of brain activity, than those who engaged in little to no activity.  

While additional research is needed to truly understand the benefits exercise have on the brain and the development of Alzheimer’s, researchers agree on this:  Regularly incorporating heart-healthy activities such as walking, yoga, water aerobics, biking or swimming is an essential part of healthy aging. Be sure to speak with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

Helping Seniors Stay Active at Western Home Communities

Seniors can find everything they need to stay active and healthy at Western Home Communities. Our easy, worry-free living options leave more time for enjoying life and staying active. All of our communities include easy access to walking & biking trails, as well as new amenities such as The Grosse Aquatic and Wellness Center, designed with the needs of seniors in mind. Learn more about our various senior living options today. Contact Western Home Communities for more information.