A new study has revealed that exercise and staying active can help to maintain a healthy mind in elderly people. Previously, this has only been demonstrated on mice and was much harder to prove in people.
The study found that when elderly people stay active, their brains have more of a particular class of proteins. These proteins help to enhance the connections between neurons which help to maintain a healthy mind. This was also seen in those who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia.
Protection against Alzheimer’s
Elderly people who remained active had higher levels of proteins that improve neuron information exchange in the hippocampus. Additionally, this extended beyond the area responsible for memory and into other brain regions which are associated with cognitive function.
The brains of many elderly people are known to accumulate toxic proteins, amyloid and tau. These proteins can lead to Alzheimer’s disease, causing the neurons within the brain to fall apart. However, the proteins associated with exercising disrupts the toxic proteins forming, and prevents the disease from taking hold.
Not Just For A Healthy Mind
Exercise is: ‘beneficial for both physical and mental health and can lead to improvements in quality of life’, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.
Engaging in regular exercise can help to improve cardiovascular health which can lead to reductions in blood pressure and heart disease. It helps to improve physical fitness whilst gaining stronger muscles and flexible joints. Regular exercise can also help to keep the bones strong which reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
There is also a huge amount of benefit to be gained from exercise which can help to improve overall mental health and wellbeing. As well as improving memory and slowing down mental decline, it releases feel-good hormones. Additionally, it can help you to sleep better and is a great opportunity for social interaction.
If you have not done any physical exercise for a long period of time, or if you have an existing health condition, consult a healthcare professional before starting any new physical activity. It shouldn’t stop you from exercising completely, but it will help you to choose the most appropriate activity for you.
If you would like more information on how to get started with exercise then don’t hesitate to get in touch today to speak to one of our dedicated team who will be able to advise on the next steps.