Alzheimer’s disease is expected to affect one in eight of us in the near future, and already affects 5.1 million Americans. According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, Alzheimer’s disease is, “a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes.” That is the technical definition. However, if you ask people living with Alzheimer’s, or their loved ones to define it, most would describe it as a vicious disease that wipes out decades of beautiful and precious memories, leaving its victims feeling lost, alone and terrified.
While there is still no cure for this disease, there have recently been many links to everyday changes in diet and exercise that could help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Prevention magazine most recently published a significant connection between regular exercise and memory improvement. We all may agree that regular workouts can increase blood flow as well as oxygen, but these sweat sessions can also boost brain function and memory retention.
If you think you need to carve out half of your day to make a difference, you’d be wrong. The recommendation for adults is only 150 minutes a week, which breaks down to about 22 minutes a day. Prevention said that the CDC (Center for Disease Control), found that those who included these 150 minutes of exercise in their weekly schedule, actually improved their memory performance significantly after only 12 weeks!
A study mentioned in an article published by the Mayo Clinic, suggests that women who remained physically active were less likely to experience a decline in their mental function than inactive women. Another study where mice were bred to develop Alzheimer’s type plaque in the brain, found that mice who were allowed to be active, actually developed 50-80% less of the plaque than the sedentary mice did. The active mice additionally produced significant amounts of an enzyme in the brain that actually prevents the plaque from building.
While healthy eating is certainly encouraged, the article quotes Dr. Ronald Petersen, director of the Alzheimer’s Research Center at the Mayo Clinic, as saying, “Regular physical exercise is probably the best means we have of preventing Alzheimer’s disease today, better than medications, better than intellectual activity, better than supplements and diet.”
So how do you manage to fit regular workouts into your busy schedule? It’s easier that you think. If just 22 minutes a day is all that it takes, just ponder what you waste 22 minutes a day doing. Recent studies show that most people spend an average 184 minutes a day calling or texting, 101 minutes a day mindlessly scrolling or posting to Facebook, and another 58 minutes a day going through emails. While these numbers may seem a bit extreme, one must admit that shutting down the computer or smartphone for a while would clearly allow for the time needed to squeeze in a workout.
Our minds are precious time capsules in which all of our personal history is stored. Is 22 minutes a day really too much time to invest in protecting something so important? We think not. For simple and quick workout routines that you can incorporate in to your busy schedule, click here.