The year is certainly not 2012, but when asked, my grandpa will tell you that it is. Ten percent of people age 65 and older, including my grandpa, have Alzheimer’s dementia, the most common form of dementia, and as a result, mental and physical challenges manifest themselves in every aspect of their lives, such as knowing the year we are in (“Facts and Figures”). Luckily, although deaths from Alzheimer’s have increased by 146% between 2000 and 2018 and there is no cure, research provides encouraging data that demonstrates the preventative influence that physical exercise has on the occurrence of Alzheimer’s dementia (“Facts and Figures”). Whether you enjoy working out or not, participating in aerobic exercise plays a vital role towards reducing your likelihood of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s dementia, a definitive motivator for lacing up your gym shoes and running those extra miles.
Yes, my grandpa has Alzheimer’s dementia, but the role that genetics has on this disease is weak; rather, lifestyle choices, such as incorporating physical exercise in your weekly routine, are more significant in influencing the rates at which Alzheimer’s dementia occurs. Fortunately, we can choose to alter our lifestyles by implementing cardiovascular exercise multiple times per week in order to combat the onset of the harrowing disease, and according to Dr. Gad Marshall, associate director of clinical trials at the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s hospital, “For 1% of all cases, there are three genes that determine definitely whether or not you will have Alzheimer’s… For the other 99%… many things may contribute to the development of symptoms, such as inflammation in the brain, vascular risk factors, and lifestyle” (“What can you do”). No, you cannot alter your genes, but because you can alter your lifestyle, you can incorporate an exercise routine which will ultimately aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia, an irreversible and incurable deadly disease. According to Alzheimers.org, “Combining the results of 11 studies shows that regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia by about 30 per cent. For Alzheimer’s disease specifically, the risk was reduced by 45 per cent” which provides an optimistic outlook towards a person’s capability of averting the presence of Alzheimer’s dementia later in life through the preventative measure of integrating an exercise routine earlier in life (“Physical Exercise and Dementia”).
The condition of my grandpa’s Alzheimer’s dementia is irreversible, but it is evident that taking an active approach instead of a passive approach towards preventing Alzheimer’s dementia by integrating physical exercise in your routine now is crucial towards lowering your risk of acquiring the disease later in life. What was once thought to be a disease that is inevitable, especially if a relative had it, has been proven to be considerably influenced by the presence of an active lifestyle instead. After watching a loved one suffer through this destructive disease, I have found solace in the scientific data that the simple lifestyle alteration of incorporating physical exercise into your routine serves as an strikingly preventative measure of exhibiting symptoms of Alzheimer’s dementia.
“Facts and Figures.” Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures. Accessed 5 December 2020.
“Physical Exercise and Dementia.” Alzheimer’s Society, www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/risk-factors-and-prevention/physical-exercise. Accessed 5 December 2020.
“What can you do to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease?” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/alzheimers-and-dementia/what-can-you-do-to-avoid-alzheimers-disease. Accessed 5 December 2020.