Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dumbbell? You Bet!

Hopefully, the spectre of Alzheimer's Disease is not hovering over me at this very moment; one never knows until...well, until he or she DOESN'T know anymore. The fact is that this disease is something we all hope to prevent. Sadly, there is no certain prevention, but researchers have recently uncovered facts that seem to repudiate what we have been told in the past about staving off Alzheimer's: brain games and intellectual stimulation work, but not as well as exercise!
In a report published recently in Neurology, researchers detailed an experiment that included 700 people in Scotland between the ages of 70 and 73. Beginning at age 70, participants recorded their leisure and physical activity levels and also rated how often they engaged in various social and intellectual activities.
Three years later, an MRI was done on each participant to check biomarks. Interestingly, those who had higher levels of physical activity also were deemed to have less brain shrinkage (it DOES that?) and fewer white matter lesions, both of which are commonly associated with Alzheimer's disease. As a result, researchers postulate that intellectual and social activities were helpful, but not AS helpful as exercise in preventing onset of the disease.
So, what type of exercise should one begin? Another study, albeit a small one, submitted to the Alzheimer's Association's International Conference in July tested specific types of exercise with women between the ages of 70 and 80. Weight training, walking, and balancing exercises were tested, and the one deemed most effective was weight training. I was a bit surprised. I've heard that weight training is great for bones in older people, especially women, but I would have thought walking might do more. Obviously more study needs to be done, but for a person who reads a lot and does crossword puzzles or Sudoku, this might be useful information.
As it is, it's time for the Nintendo to hit the closet and the dumbbells to come out.


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