Middle Agers: staying active now may decrease your risk of Dementia later

  • Due genetic traits & family history we are told that Alzheimer’s & Dementia could be a high probability & that right now  there is nothing we can do to prevent it, yet on a daily basis I see new discoveries that give us hope.
  • The brain is a complex organ that has one of the body’s richest networks of blood vessels and is especially vulnerable to blood flow disruptions.
  • Unlike a bicep or a quadricep, we can’t see or feel when our brain is turning into mush through either disuse or misuse, instead any atrophy will make itself known when we’re struggling to remember a very common word, getting hopelessly lost in a part of town we’re intimately familiar.
  • Vascular Dementia is a common form of Dementia that happens when blood vessels in the brain have insufficient blood flow & result in depriving brain cells of vital oxygen and nutrients and cell death.
  • A recent Swedish study, published in the journal Neurology suggests that staying active in our middle years may be part of an effective strategy to reducing our risks of developing Vascular Dementia.
  • The study tested & scored middle age women (Average 47 years old) on their activity levels (mental and physical).
  • Mental activities included playing musical instruments, reading, attending concerts, artistic activities, and attending clubs or religious services
  • Physical Activities included gardening, bowling, biking) for 4 hours a week, up to intense activities like running, swimming and aerobics several times a week.
  • The study found that the women with the highest levels of mental activity were 46% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s & 34% less likely to develop all forms of dementia than those with low levels.
  • The most physically active of the group were 53% less likely to develop vascular dementia and 56% less likely to develop mixed dementia.

Takeaways

  • The old phrase “use it or lose it” now applies to your brain as well, so stay active to keep your brain’s vascular system healthy.
  • Find the activities you are most passionate about. I am in my mid 40’s & for me it’s hiking the Canadian Rockies with the kids, trying new recipes, Latin Dancing with Liliana & a daily dose of Vipassana Meditation.
  • Do what you love on a regular basis for at least 4 hours per week (if it’s something that make you think, smile and or break a sweat it’s even better)….you will not only have a healthy brain but will live a happier, richer life!

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