Posts tagged dementia

Collage of people doing exercise

Exercise gives you endorphins, the happy hormones

Collage of people doing exerciseSpring is nearly upon us! It’s time to dust off that bicycle and basketball of yours and do some exercises. If your location is experiencing the last of a cold spell, consider going to a community centre or gym to get some exercises. In a series of post called “Being active is good for the brain”, Dr. Scott Lear says that when we exercise, our body releases hormones called endorphins – the happy hormones. After exercising, endorphins are released, giving you a euphoric feeling – or in the running world, the runner’s high. Did you know that this euphoric feeling can also be felt with low levels of activity?

Research literature supports a link between exercise and increased positive mood, reduced depression and anxiety, and greater well-being. In research studies, those who reported higher psychological well-being exercised more frequently than those with lower psychological well-being. Exercise also helped with stress management. In “The cascade of positive events: Does exercise on a given day increase the frequency of additional positive events?“, the authors said that “exercise might be categorized as a positive event within the context of an individual’s day-to-day life”.

Dr. Lear added, “The benefits of exercise appear to be even greater the worse our mood is prior to exercising.” He’s had some of the best workouts when he releases stress by going for a swim or bike ride. Exercise can also improve memory and cognition, helping you think better and in turn, achieve more. According to this New York Times article, going for a post-meal walk, as short as 15 minutes, can help with digestion and improve blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. For people with depression, exercise is a proven therapy to reduce depressive symptoms.

In conclusion, exercise improves memory and cognition and leads to an increase in BNDF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) – low levels of BNDF are associated with greater risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Studies in people with dementia have not shown improvements in cognition and symptoms with exercise. However, there was an improvement in the ability of people with dementia to perform day-to-day activities such as getting dressed and bathing, which help to prolong independent living. Though exercise improves a number of risk factors associated with dementia such as high blood pressure and diabetes, researchers agree more studies need to be conducted about the relationship between exercise and dementia.

Given the benefits of exercise, let’s take baby steps and start by taking the stairs and going for a walk after lunch! Happy exercising!

Passionate about walking? Join the walking movement.

There are many health benefits to walking. Walking can benefit people living with dementia, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and depression. The infographic below by Every Body Walk! shows a summary of the health benefits of walking. Join the walking movement!

Infographic showing the benefits of walking

How can I join the walking movement?

For those of you who want to do something locally, you can join the walking movement in several ways:

> Sign up for a running or walking event in your neighbourhood. RunGuides provides a list of running events and clubs in cities across North America. Most of the running events have a walking option.

> Start your own walking club with friends.

> Commit to walking goals such as walking to complete chores, getting around on the weekends by only walking, or walking to and from work.

> Go to a walking clinic to learn the proper way to walk.

> Achieve your personal best by using a walking app, such as the Walk10Blocks app, or other activity trackers to monitor your walking activities.

Can you think of other ways to join the walking movement? Please share with us via the comments below or on our Facebook page.

The 2017 National Walking Summit

To celebrate the walking movement, America Walks is hosting the 2017 National Walking Summit. The summit will be held in St. Paul, Minnesota this fall and is open for registration. Vital and Vibrant Communities: The Power of Walkability will be the theme of the summit.

Highlights at the summit include:

> Break-out sessions with experts from the field to share best practices and new resources

> Learning-from-place mobile workshops where attendees can explore the walkability of St. Paul, Minnesota

> Intensive skill-based trainings to equip attendees to create change in their own communities

> Featured speakers that will unite and inspire walking champions from across the US

The National Walking Summit is an opportunity for community, advocates, nonprofit representatives, government officials, developers, and transit, health, and planning professionals to share best practices and stories, increase the visibility of key issue, build support for the walking movement, and create momentum for the work ahead. The goal of the summit is to explore the growing power of the walking movement, bridge communities and learn about existing disparities that challenge us.

To register or learn more about the event, please click here. A limited number of registration scholarships are available.