Friday, March 19, 2010


If you ever needed a reason to convince you to get moving, it might be the NY Times reported effect (March 2, 2010) that regular physical activity has on the ability to "prevent or delay the loss of cognitive functions " (dementia, Alzheimer's). The cited study of almost 3,500 healthy men and women aged 55 and older demonstrated that participants who where physically active three or more times a week were "LEAST LIKELY to become cognitively impaired"(emphasis is mine)!

Maybe this is why my mom, currently age 87, her sister who died several years ago at age 86, and their mother who lived to be 89 years of age did not suffer from dementia - what folks now like to call (incorrectly) Alzheimer's Disease. Dr. Alzheimer's work was with much younger people (like in their 40's) who developed the kinds of cognitive impairments we identify exclusively with the elderly demented - but which can be confirmed only on autopsy.

So, enough of the gloom and doom. The good news here - and it is GREAT news - is that our actions can have a huge amount of effect on how we age - how healthy we remain both physically and mentally.

Given these odds, I'll opt for remaining physically active. Even if/when one can't physically walk, there are activities that can increase health and well being. These include things like chair aerobics, gentle or chair yoga, swimming, and cycling with one of the inexpensive little devices pictured above (widely available. This one happens to be a Gold's Gym product.).

The final 'coup' here is the Australian study with volunteers who reported having memory problems. These volunteers were assigned a 6 month program of physical activity or health education. Eighteen months later, the physically active group showed "a modest improvement in cognition." This and other studies demonstrate the value of exercise, even when started at an advanced age, benefiting short term memory, multitasking, and other cognitive functions.

Sign me up!

Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude.

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