Benefits of Physical Activity on Alzheimer’s Disease

In a newly published report, researchers presented the results of three innovative studies on the benefits of physical activity on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia related symptoms, at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, AAIC, in Washington, D.C. These results highlighted that physical activity can help improve symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s and cause positive changes in the brain.

But, what’s even more exciting, these researchers found that the cognitive benefits aren’t limited to people who already have cognitive challenges – these findings also show exercise may protect the brain from developing Alzheimer’s disease, as well as other types of dementia.

These results are so convincing, the presentation has prompted immediate support for a pioneering approach toward treatment for neurological symptoms. Maria Carillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Science Officer, shared her views on the presentation, saying “Based on the results we heard reported today at AAIC 2015, exercise or regular physical activity might play a role in both protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and also living better with the disease if you have it. These findings also highlight the potential value of non-drug therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and remind us that research ought to adamantly pursue combination and multi-model approaches to Alzheimer’s therapy and prevention.”

Dr. Steen Hasselbalch, Danish Dementia Research Centre, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, was also inspired by the results, saying, “Symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, and depression that often occur in Alzheimer’s disease are the cause of great distress in both caregivers and people with the disease. This calls for further study of multimodal treatment strategies, including lifestyle and drug therapies.”

The Alzheimer’s Association states that this research “provides hope there may soon be a tool that people with dementia can use to prolong their independence and improve their quality of life.” Because of this growing body of evidence, they advise regular physical activity as one key proactive step to reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

A prominent health and wellness brand is equally excited about these findings, and hopeful that many people will implement this simple preventative practice into their daily lives. Harry Douglas, a representative for the company, was quoted in response to the research results, saying, “This company is hopeful that new research will continue to prove the remedial effects of simple lifestyle changes, such as physical activity. With more proof like this coming to the surface, there is no excuse for ignoring the small changes that can really impact a persons health, both now and in the future.”