Exercise and Alzheimer’s Prevention

 In General

The second law of brain longevity reads, “What works for the
heart works for the head.” That means that there are lifestyle measures which
you can do to help your heart and memory as well.

At this moment in time, there is a lot of stress in our
world and stress also affects negatively our general health, mind, mood, and
memory. Stress can hurt your heart, causing high blood pressure, which can lead
to heart attacks and strokes and, moreover, stress may also lead to memory

Stress may cause a total disruption in your hormonal system,
thus affecting your brain’s control center, the hypothalamus, the pituitary
gland, and your adrenal glands. This leads to fatigue, immune system weakness,
obesity, and diabetes.

Another notably negative effect of stress is that it also
produces the death of critically important cells in your brain’s memory center,
called the hippocampus. When the hippocampus shrinks as a result of less brain
cells, this can lead to depression, as well as memory loss.

I’m a big proponent of regular meditation to lower
stress-related cortisol. But, in addition to meditation, regular physical
exercise is also very important to keep your stress levels at bay and your
hormonal system functioning well.

As an anesthesiologist, I know how important it is to keep a
person’s nervous system under control. When I’d give my patient an anesthetic
during surgery, I could tell if I was doing a good job or not by how well the
patient responded to the stresses of the operation. The way I knew how well I
was doing was by monitoring their blood pressure and heart rate. If those two
went up, I’d have to give the person more anesthetic in order to lower the
patient’s stress.

 Interestingly, research has shown that when a patient’s
nervous system is kept under control during surgery, they do much better during
the operation. They have less blood loss, heal faster, and suffer from less
pain after the surgery. These positive reactions occur because of less stress
stress-related hormones being released into the person’s system.

Moving away from the operating room, lifestyle measures can
also help you keep your nervous system under control, your stress levels low,
and your memory robust. Among the many lifestyle measures that will do this is
physical exercise, such as cardiovascular training, weight training, and body
weight exercises.

Throughout history, it’s been generally accepted that
physical fitness benefits the mind. In 400 B.C., Plato remarked that a healthy
body was necessary for a healthy brain. Thomas Jefferson once said that he
believed in exercising 2 hours a day. President Kennedy, in establishing
physical goals for America’s children, responded to Jefferson’s view of
exercise by stating, “ If the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence,
was Secretary of State, and
President, could
  give it two hours a
day, our children can give it ten or fifteen minutes.”

When it comes to your mind and memory, it’s a good reason to
exercise. As we’ll soon see, many important physiological brain functions are
improved. Because of all these wonderful enhancements in anatomy and
physiology, cognitive power is maintained. In fact, it’s been scientifically
proven that physical exercise prevents Alzheimer’s disease by fifty-percent
(50%). Certainly there is no drug or vitamin supplement that is able to make
that claim.

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