Dementia Prevention: Un-sit Your Life
Moving more at any age impacts cognitive abilities. It’s never too early to start your campaign to prevent dementia. And, it’s never too late to do something about your cognitive concerns.
Especially if Alzheimer’s, the most serious form of dementia, runs in your family, you’ll want to consider dementia prevention. Heredity is considered to be 46% of the risk for Alzheimer’s.
Un-sit your life by sitting smart and sitting less.
- Sit smart. Don’t just sit there, rock. Rocking sends more blood to your brain feeding it more nutrients. Also, rocking helps build walking speed, linked by research to dementia. The slower an individual’s walking speed, the more increase in potential for and degree of dementia.
How much and how often? Rock 15 minutes twice a day.
- Consider your television watching time. Those who don’t exercise and whose primary recreational activity from ages 40 to 59 was television watching increased their risk for Alzheimer’s by 250%.
How much and how often? Keep track of your television time and look at adding activity to your life. (See below.)
- Take breaks from sitting. This will improve your blood sugar level. Elevated blood sugar appears to play a role in the risk for dementia. Those with diabetes are twice as likely to develop dementia. Even for those who do not have diabetes, risk for dementia rises for those with elevated blood sugar levels.
How much and how often? If you’ve sat an hour, you’ve sat too long. Ideally, take a break from sitting every 20 minutes.
- Substitute some of your sitting time with up and about time to help manage your weight. Those who sit more have a greater risk for weight gain. Obesity in middle age is a risk factor for cognitive decline. Those who are over weight at the age of 50 with two metabolic abnormalities (abnormal levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, triglycerides) experience a more rapid cognitive decline.
How much and how often? Those with weight problems sit two hours more than those who have a normal weight. Start gradually and build your up and about time.
Add some activity to your life.
• A 2% growth in the part of the brain responsible for memory occurred for adults who walked three times a week for 30 minutes to 45 minutes for a year.
• Moderate exercise (brisk walking, aerobics, yoga, strength training or swimming) is linked with a reduction in cognitive impairment. A 39% reduction was seen or those who exercise in their 40’s and a 32% reduction for later in life.
• Older adults (average age 75) who were more active, resulting in burning an additional 1,000 calories a day, “were 91% less likely to experience declines in memory, concentration and language abilities after five years.”
• Among the elderly, those who are the least physically active during the day are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Even for the elderly "activities like cooking, washing the dishes, playing cards and even moving a wheelchair with a person's arms were beneficial,"