A pill that cures dementia doesn’t exist yet, but there’s something available right now that can protect the mind: exercise. It’s a well-established fact that physical exercise is the cornerstone of healthy living. Not only does it contribute to general fitness, it helps muscle control and coordination, and improves overall well-being.
In the book The Real Happy Pill: Power Up Your Brain By Moving Your Body, Dr Anders Hansen reveals that various studies have shown daily walks can reduce the risk of dementia by a whopping 40 percent.
Backed By Research
A physical exercise like walking is essential to ensure your brain gets steady blood flow, and research has found that it can encourage the growth of brain cells. While there isn’t definitive evidence on the benefits of walking, there have been positive results from various studies that show that physical activity is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. A study by doctors of the Mayo Clinic concluded that brisk walking 30 minutes a day for five days a week can potentially reduce dementia risk by 30 to 50 percent.
In 2014, Professor Kirk Erickson, a neuroscientist at the University of Pittsburgh studied a group of 100 adults and found that brisk walking three times a week increased the size of brain regions linked memory. While the increases were minor, his research tells is that you don’t need to do vigorous exercise to see effects. What a relief!
Free. And Easy!
The great thing about walking is that everyone can do it, and that it can be done everywhere. You don’t have to go to the gym or find a track, even a trip to the market can be considered exercise – it almost seems effortless! Just 30 minutes several times a week is recommended. Start with short sessions and gradually increase it as your loved one’s fitness and stamina increases. It’s important to make it a habit and stick with the routine you’ve set. Also remember to help your loved one do simple stretches to warm up before a walk and be sure to cool down at the end. Walk in a safe environment and avoid slippery floors or rugged terrain.
Sunlight and Fresh Air
We tend to take the outdoors for granted. Many PwD end up being cooped up indoors for long periods of time where its “safe”. However, being outdoors is more beneficial. A daily walk is a great excuse to get out and stretch their limbs. Fresh and sunlight can do the body and soul wonders, in fact spending time outdoors is essential to physical and mental health. Being exposed to daylight also helps regulate the body clock and improve sleep patterns. If your loved one has always loved nature, a walk through the nearing neighbourhood the park might just what she needs to improve her well-being.