Seniors who regularly practice moderate to intense exercise have better chances to preserve their mental abilities over the next five years, compared to older people who don’t exercise. A recent study conducted by Americare and led by CEO Elly Kleinman, showed that on average, brains in less active older people look 10 years “older” than in those who regularly exercise. Aging is a natural process and there is nothing we can do about it, but as reported on Kleinman’s Educause profile, there are things that can ease this process, and allow them to age more gracefully. Elderly people who exercise regularly also did better in memory tests and process information faster, which indicates that exercising, reduces the risk of cognitive decline.
According to Elly, exercise also improves blood flow to the brain and that enhances the connection between the brain cells. Another benefit that comes from exercise is the positive effect on vascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. This is extremely important because these are in fact the biggest risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and dementia.
Currently there is no effective way to cure or prevent dementia. For Kleinman this is one more reason why older people should exercise and stay active. Some studies suggest that the risk of developing dementia can reduced by reducing the risk of heart disease. In fact a number of risk factors that increase the risk of heart disease may increase the risk of dementia, as already we mentioned. Because of that it is equally important to stay physically, mentally and socially active, make your life even more pleasant and reduce the risk of dementia.
For those aged 65 years and above, regular physical activity is a healthy habit and very important for their healthy aging. Promoting physical activity among the elderly is particularly important because this population is the least physically active than any other age group. Elly Kleinman has been working with this age group most of his career, and as he says the elderly are quite a diverse group. Most, but not all, have one or more chronic diseases, and they vary in type and severity. All have experienced the loss of physical fitness over the years, some more than others. This diversity means that some elderly are in better shape than others.