SEPTEMBER IS WORLD ALZHEIMER’S MONTH
September marks World Alzheimer’s Month, where people around the world come together to raise awareness and to challenge the stigma around dementia. and September 2021 marks the 10th year of this campaign. Many people misunderstand the link between Alzheimer’s and dementia. Dementia is the name for a set of symptoms that includes memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Alzheimer’s disease itself is a specific type of dementia which is caused by complex brain changes following cell damage.
Dementia affects almost one million adults in the UK today, with half a million affected by Alzheimer’s. Although it is not always possible to prevent the onset of diseases, of all the lifestyle changes that have been studied, taking regular physical exercise appears to be one of the best things that you can do to reduce your risk of getting dementia. Studies show that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function and have a lowered risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This is because regular physical activity benefits the brain, and being moderately active for as little as 30 minutes a week can:
Keep thinking, reasoning and learning skills sharp for healthy individuals.
Improve function for those with mild Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment.
Delay the start of Alzheimer’s for people at risk of developing the disease or slow the progress of the disease.
Increase the size of the hippocampus (part of the brain that’s associated with memory formation) leading to improved memory.
Physical activity seems to help your brain by not only keeping the blood flowing, but also by increasing chemicals that protect the brain. Physical activity also tends to counter some of the natural reduction in brain connections that occurs with aging, preventing the onset and development of the disease. In a study of adults already experiencing mild memory impairment, a 6-month programme of physical activity provided improvements in cognition suggesting that physical activity could undo some of the damage caused by Alzheimer’s.
Saying all of this, when you get older lots of people don’t want to do traditional exercise or intensive activity. This may put many people off as they feel as if they have to go to the gym to get the cognitive benefits of being physically active. However, there are everyday activities you can do, such as walking around the shops, cleaning the house, washing the car, doing the gardening, etc, that can help your brain as well as your body. Any form of movement will keep the brain active and help to prevent the degeneration of these neural pathways. At KiActiv® we are focused just as much on the mind as we are on the body. As we age, it is common to feel as if your memory is not as sharp as it used to be, so now is as good a time as any to make the change to a more active lifestyle and preserve those vital brain functions !
Leading a more active lifestyle does not have to mean drastic changes – making small, sustainable changes to your lifestyle really can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing. The first step is to find out exactly what your lifestyle currently looks like, only then can you decide what changes you need to make and monitor if those changes are successful. KiActiv® Health will help you understand your life and provide the kick-start for change, then help you measure and monitor the success of the decisions you are making in pursuit of your goals.
The KiActiv® Team