Compared to the previous generation, there’s no disputing that Canadians are heavier, rounder, weaker and less flexible. As we age, the worst thing is inactivity.

Studies show people who were the most physically active reduced their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 38%. Being active early in life, and continuing to have an exercise routine throughout, may well pay off later in life.

Alzheimer’s disease is a disease of later life. Through exercise, scientists believe we can delay the onset of the disease and also benefit by reducing the risk of other medical conditions such as breast and colon cancer, cardiovascular disease and depression.

The type of activity you do, doesn’t matter. Choose activities you enjoy like brisk walking, dancing or swimming and make exercise part of your routine. To improve balance and prevent falls, particularly for adults 65-plus, it’s advised to add activities such as tai chi, yoga or Pilates into your weekly routine.

You can also change your routine slightly to add more exercise in your day without realizing it. For example, park your vehicle further away from your destination, take the stairs rather than the elevator and walk at lunch.

The Alzheimer’s Society of British Columbia has a number of online resources such as an introduction to brain health. There is information for people suffering from dementia as well as for caregivers. If you don’t have access to support groups and workshops in your area, there is a dementia helpline as well as free on-hour telephone workshops.

For more information on research in BC and Canada, the risk factors, treatment options and much more, visit the Alzheimer Society of BC website.

Source: Vancouver Sun

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