May 14, 2010

Tip of the day

This week I’ve attended the Alzheimer’s Symposium.  I’ve learned a ton of information over the course of the conference.  One piece of advice that speakers kept returning to was that exercise is important.  Studies have not conclusively shown a causal relationship between Alzheimer’s Disease and exercise (we can’t say that exercise itself prevents Alzheimer’s Disease), but we know that it doesn’t hurt.  Speakers said, “What is good for the heart is good for the brain….What is good for the brain is good for the heart.”  We know that exercise is important in helping to keep us healthy physically, and more research is being conducted in how it keeps us healthy mentally, emotionally, sexually, and socially. 

One speaker discussed the importance of preventative measures and research in Alzheimer's disease with special emphasis on how the populations of developed nations will show a dramatic increase in the percentage of older adults.  (More older adults means more prevalence of dementias, means more cost for countries, means more caregiver stress and fatigue…) He noted that there is a possibility that we should be looking at prevention of the illness 40 years or more before the illness normally is diagnosed.  Basically, in your 20s, 30s, and 40s we should be doing everything we can to stay healthy.  Eating a healthy diet, exercising, staying active mentally are only a few of the recommendations made as possible steps for prevention, again causation cannot clearly be shown. 

In the last year, I’ve fallen out of the exercise habit.  While I’m relatively active, I know that I should be doing more cardiovascular and weight bearing exercises.  I’m making a renewed effort to fit more exercise into my schedule, much of the motivation for this change being that I work so actively with older adults.  While I don’t know first hand what it is like to be aged and in poor physical health, I have had so many of my clients tell me how hard it is.  I know that I must take steps now to improve my health so that later in life I have more of a chance of being healthy and living more independently. 

So, the tip of the day is to exercise more regularly so that you can hopefully live a longer, fuller, more independent life in the future.

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