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Exercising to prevent Alzheimer's disease: How much is enough?

by , 15 December 2017
Exercising to prevent Alzheimer's disease: How much is enough?
Approximately 44 million people around the world have Alzheimer's disease, a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. By 2050, this number is expected to rise to more than 100 million.

A body of research suggests that you can lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease by exercising more often. The question is: How much do you need to exercise? Read on to find out…

Many people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are genetically redisposed to the condition

While most Alzheimer’s disease patients are genetically predisposed to the condition, one-third of cases can be attributed to risk factors like obesity, physical inactivity, smoking and diabetes. In the United States, United Kingdom and Europe, physical inactivity is the most prevalent risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
 
So, how does physical activity help fight off Alzheimer’s disease? It’s simple – exercise boosts oxygen consumption and keeps blood flowing, both of which help your brain function better, the Alzheimer’s Association says. Plus, exercise makes your brain work more efficiently, which helps preserve the function that’s left.

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And the benefits of exercise don’t end there – staying fit also reduces your risk of diabetes, stroke and heart attack, each of which can raise your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
 

This is how much you need to exercise to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health in the United States, suggests that exercise can build up a part of your brain that withers with Alzheimer’s disease. To reach their findings, the researchers put older adults on a moderate-inensity exercise programme and found  that he thickness of the cortex (the outer layer of the brain) increased, potentially offering protection against Alzheimer’s disease.
 
So how much exercise is enough? According to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s’ Research, 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week – the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – can significantly improve your memory performance after just 12 weeks and potentially prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

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