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Staying Physically Active

  January 08, 2019

By Hannah White, Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter

Physical activity is a valuable part of any overall body wellness plan. If it’s safe for you, engage in cardiovascular exercise to elevate your heart rate. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, elevating your heart rate will increase the blood flow to your brain and body, providing additional nourishment while reducing potential dementia risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Physical activities
Consider physical activities that may also be mentally or socially engaging, such as walking with a friend, taking a dance class, joining an exercise group, or golfing. By incorporating an activity that you enjoy, you will continue to engage in it. Adopting healthy exercise habits today will allow you to enjoy the lifelong benefits of regular physical activity. It is never too late to start making healthy choices, but always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

How to prevent falls
  • Engage in regular physical activity to improve your strength and balance and reduce your risk of falling.
  • Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults, and one-third of adults over age 65 fall every year.
  • Falls in which your head is injured may affect your brain’s ability to function normally, causing unconsciousness, confusion, and other symptoms.
  • At home, cover or put objects out of the way that may increase your risk of tripping and falling, such as shoes or electrical cords.
  • Turn on lights when you enter a room so that you can clearly see obstacles. Consider installing extra lighting in areas that tend to be dark.
Take care of your health
Keep your heart healthy to help keep your brain healthy. Growing evidence suggests that many factors that increase the risk of heart disease also may increase the risk of dementia. These factors include smoking, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
  • Visit your doctor regularly.
  • Get your “numbers” checked, including weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Actively seek treatment to keep yourself within healthy ranges.
  • If you have diabetes, manage it properly.
  • Stop smoking. If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
  • Take action to minimize stress. Studies have found that regular physical activity decreases stress, increases your ability to manage stress, and leads to better mood overall.
  • Get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea can result in problems with memory and thinking.
  • Avoid excess alcohol.
  • Seek professional assistance to address anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns.
Staying active can help increase the blood flow to your brain and body, this provides additional nourishment while reducing potential dementia risk factors. Keeping your heart healthy can help keep your brain healthy and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

For more tips on brain health, visit alz.org/illinois. Your local Alzheimer’s Association has many resources for those affected by the disease. The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support, and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support for all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. Visit your local office at 614 W. Glen Ave in Peoria, or call our free, 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900. Back to Top

January 08, 2019


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