September is World Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by memory loss and cognitive decline affecting activities of daily living including speech, behavior, visuals, and motor system. It is the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect more than 55 million people around the world.
Although the prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease can be affected by genetics, there are several other risk factors that increase an individual’s chance of developing the disease or other forms of dementia. There are three main factors that aid in reducing risk- healthy eating, refraining from smoking and reducing alcohol intake, and participating in regular exercise.
There is no single ingredient that aids in reducing the risk of dementia. However, consuming a variety of different foods provides the body and brain with the nutrition it needs to stay healthy. Studies show that eating more fruits and vegetables like beans, peas, and nuts has a positive impact on brain health. Reducing the consumption of sugary foods and red meats also has a positive impact on overall health. Consuming a balanced diet is key to improving overall health and reducing the risk of developing many diseases and disorders including dementia.
Smoking and Alcohol Use
Studies around the world have shown that smoking increases an individual’s risk of developing any form of dementia by 30-40%. Smoking is a significant risk factor because of the damage it causes to the circulation in the blood vessels of the brain. Nicotine also causes amyloid plaques to form in the brain that the body is not able to break down.
Consuming alcohol outside of moderation is also a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Drinking more than a pint of beer or a glass of wine a day can significantly increase an individual’s risk of developing the disease.
Participating in Regular Exercise
Aerobic exercises are proven to have the greatest effect on reducing the risk of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, performing aerobic exercise for 20-30 minutes several times a week reduces an individual’s risk of developing the disease by 45% and reduces the risk of developing other forms of dementia by 30%. Exercise has also been proven to be an effective way to reduce cognitive decline later in life by improving cognitive functions like memory and reasoning skills.
Although aging is the highest risk factor, developing dementia in any form is not a normal part of aging. Hiring a personal trainer can help you stay consistent with your exercise routine, boost your nutrition, and give you the support needed to hold you accountable. With our talented team of fitness and recovery experts, we promise to deliver the best service possible. To get started on your health journey, please check out our variety of services at www.abilityfitness.org.