Dr. Laura DeFina, CEO of internationally-recognized Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX, recently noted that Alzheimer’s and dementia are diseases that are chronic and progressive which ultimately “steal who we are”. Although enormous amounts of funding are funneled into research and care, DeFina says prevention is within the power of every individual.
She shared about a recent gathering of the Dallas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association where a group of experts presented a wide array of information on self-care. Topics included stress management, exercise, nutrition, and quality sleep, all which are known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other related conditions. Among the findings presented was data from a 2013 Cooper Institute study indicating “higher fitness levels at mid-life had a 36% lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s and related disorders, on an average 20 years later than those with lower fitness levels”.
DeFina also noted the increasing evidence that persistent, moderate intensity physical activity enhances both brain volume and cognition. These recent findings demonstrate that physical activity not only helps when these diseases begin, but can have enduring benefits when started earlier in life.
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