Elder Care: September is World Alzheimer’s Month and it’s important for your senior to know that there might be ways for her to either prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s disease just by moving a little bit more.
Here’s what she needs to know.
Even a Little Exercise Is Better than None
The American Heart Association and CDC both recommend 150 minutes of moderate- to high-intensity exercise per week. But the consensus is also that even a smaller amount of exercise is better than no exercise at all. Assuming that her doctor clears her to start an exercise plan, your senior can work up to 150 minutes of exercise per week.
Balance Exercises Help the Brain
Balance exercises, like yoga or tai chi, are excellent for improving balance and flexibility. They can also help with keeping your senior’s brain strong, too. Your senior’s brain has to concentrate on all of the small variables that go into keeping her upright, and new neural pathways can form as your elderly family member learns new activities.
Hanging onto Muscle Tone Is Important
Losing muscle tone is bad for your senior’s entire body, but it isn’t great for her brain, either. Exercising regularly and maintaining muscle tone helps to reduce inflammation throughout the body, including in your senior’s brain. Aerobic exercise, in particular, helps with blood flow, and again the entire body benefits from that increased blood flow, especially your senior’s brain.
Sticking with an Exercise Plan Consistently Pays Off
It’s hard to stick with an exercise plan, though, particularly if your elderly family member has never really been a fan of exercising. It’s important to find something she enjoys doing and try to make it social if you can. Having elder care providers there who can remind your senior to add more movement to her day may also help. It might take some experimenting for your elderly family member to find the system that works best for her. If she’s concerned about having the energy to exercise, that’s another way that senior care providers can help. They can lighten her load in other areas so that she has time and energy to devote to working out.
Work with your senior’s doctor to help her to assess her risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Some of these tips, along with help from elder care providers, might be beneficial in putting together a plan to help your senior to slow down the cognitive changes she’s experiencing.