Sunday, June 3, 2012

Reversing Dementia

Before you get too excited about reading my blog, take a moment and re-read the title.  It is “Reversing DEMENTIA”.  It is not “Reversing Alzheimer’s”.  While I would be thrilled to write with news of such an event, this is not the case.  Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.  It is the only cause in the top ten reasons for death that has no cure, no treatment, and no means to slow its progression.  In other words, it is the pits!  Grandma Carpenter died with Alzheimer’s, my Momma was diagnosed with it in 2006, and an additional 5.3 million Americans are facing life with this disease.  Now that I have thoroughly depressed you, let me give you some good news.  Recent studies have shown that exercising at an aerobic level 3-5 times per week can actually reverse the symptoms of dementia.  Let’s review the definition of Alzheimer’s and the definition of dementia.  Alzheimer’s is most easily defined as a disease of the brain.  Dementia is simply put as an inability to think clearly which affects the activities of daily living.  If dementia can be reversed, the quality of life is greatly increased.  I am happy to hear this report, but I am happier to report first-hand experience.  My Momma is working with a personal trainer twice per week.  He has her doing things I would have bet big money she would not have been capable of completing.  I remember trying to get my Mother to go for a walk with me.  We were still within sight of my home when she ran out of energy.  Now she is doing mountain climbers, squats, push ups, and I don’t know what all.  Then, and I am still amazed at this, she walks three laps around the campus of her assisted living.  After completing those three laps, she will grab a partner who needs the exercise but walks much more slowly, and back to walking she goes.  The added bonus is she is remembering things.  This amazes me.  If exercise can make this kind of difference in an individual with dementia, how much more can it do for those of us who are living with healthy brains?  Makes me wonder why we don’t take better care of ourselves.  Do your part today to fight dementia.  EXERCISE!

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