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Staying Active to Prevent Alzheimer’s

Being active, both physically and mentally, offers numerous benefits, from improving heart health, bone strength and energy levels to lowering blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure and fall risk. Additionally, an active lifestyle has been shown to help slow age-related cognitive decline, lowering your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. And best of all, it’s never too late to start.

Physical exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, positively impacting brain cell health and new cell growth. Exercise is the single most transformative thing you can do to make an immediate change to your mental cognition and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, other dementia-related illnesses and depression.

It’s equally important to be mentally stimulated. Research has shown that those who are socially and mentally active are at a reduced risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Being socially active is linked to better brain health and is associated with a lower risk for depression and low self-esteem. Staying mentally active improves your memory and your ability to focus, concentrate and function day-to-day.

How Can I Stay Active?

You can stay physically and mentally active by making simple lifestyle changes a routine part of your life. At Banner Health, our supportive expert staff is here to help you learn how to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease so you can maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Regular cardiovascular exercise

 The general recommendation for adults is 30 minutes of exercise a day, 3-5 days a week. Exercise may include one or a combination of the following:

  • Running or brisk walking
  • Bicycling
  • Spinning
  • Swimming
  • Weight lifting
  • Yoga
  • Boxing
  • Dancing
  • Rowing
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Cleaning
  • Gardening

Stay mentally sharp

Exercise your brain for 20 minutes, three times a week with any of these mentally stimulating activities to lower your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline:

  • Playing board games
  • Reading books
  • Complete jigsaw or crossword puzzles
  • Play card games
  • Listen to or play music
  • Learn a new skill or language
  • Build your vocabulary
  • Meditate
  • Do tai chi

Before you start a new exercise program, consult with your doctor. It’s important to understand any medical precautions you should take while exercising to prevent any injuries.