Can Exercise Help Prevent or Delay the Onset of Alzheimer’s?

So what is the association between physical fitness and your brain?

The study by Haddock, et al., (2010) showed that people who were fit had better memories and larger hippicampii (the structure that joins the right and the left parts of our brains). Essentially the study found that the fitter we are, the better wiring we have upstairs.

So how does this happen? Well its actually quite simple… the thought process involved in coordinating all of our movements during exercise increases the blood flow to the brain. Now as you can imagine more blood flow is a good thing as it brings with it refreshing oxygen, nutrients and energy necessary for brain growth. This is particularly important for the hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for memory).

What does all this mean? Well it’s all good news! The effect that exercise has on positively supporting memory and healthy brain growth has very important implications in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

You see, as we use our brains throughout the day they accumulate a waste product called amylod beta protein. This waste product is what makes us feel tired throughout the day and has also been implicated as a prominent cause of early onset of Alzheimer’s. The beauty of exercise is that the increased cranial blood flow not only washes away this waste product making us feel energized and refreshed, it also significantly decreases our risk of developing early onset Alzheimers disease!

Now that you know the good stuff, you may be wondering how much exercise you should be completing in order for it to have these amazing affects on your brain. It’s recommended that the average person complete at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to stay in tip top shape – both mentally and physically. A Canadian study on women over 50 also showed that in just 3 months women who where attending gym and lifting light weights showed significant changes in both improved brain size, blood flow and cognitive tests. All just from lifting weights!

With all the incredible things our bodies and minds do for us day-in and day-out, it’s comforting to know we can keep them both happy and healthy with a bit of exercise each and every day! The best way to do that is to work with an Exercise Physiologist, like our team here at Body Smart, to design a program that is right for you. Get in touch any time on 1300 630 204 or email