How To Maximize Our Later Years
We all know by now that many people are living longer and longer. The major question is how are they living? Are they living better or enjoying the extra bonus years they’ve accumulated? Its been reported that dementia will more than triple in the next 35 years worldwide. Journals on dementia have long maintained that exercising with regularity will help stave off memory loss. Exercise should be something you enjoy so you will do it consistently. This could take form in walking, biking, swimming, dancing or pruning a flowerbed!
Research on Individuals + Brain Scans
UCLA has initiated a new study among 6,000 older people of both sexes that is piggybacking on another study begun in 1989 called The Cardiovascular Health Study. Participants are asked to fill out medical and cognitive testing, and questio0nnaires about their lives and get MRI brain scans. The UCLA Study examined 900 people from a 10 year span who were 65+. They figured out cognitive impairment and an estimate of calories burned based on a weekly participation according to their questionnaires.
Results of Brain Scans
Exciting news! The results show that the top fourth of those who were active on a regular basis showed more “gray matter”. This part of the brain helps with memory and a higher level of thinking. For those who increased their physical activity over a 5 year period there was even more gray matter showing up on the scans. What is most meaningful is that those with more gray matter had a great ongoing result. Five years later their risk of getting Alzheimer’s or having other types of memory loss were diminished by 50%.
Heart Related Benefits
The senior radiology resident at UCLA who headed the study claims that its vital to stay active as we can as we age. He is looking forward to future research which will look at whether calories burned help reduce inflammation or vascular disease. My ophthalmologist always says that “what’s good for the heart is good for the eyes”. So, working out at something you love could help with your future eyesight, too.
You may be wondering what is the exact amount of exercise you need to do to get results! This is not set in stone yet, but the study showed the people experiencing positive results were either dancing or biking a few times weekly. Raji, the senior resident asserts, ” If we want to live a long time, but also keep our memories, our basic selves intact, keep moving.”