Why Exercise?

“Mens sana en corpore sano” (Juvenal, Satire X, c. 100 A.D.) – a sound mind in a sound body.

  • The beneficial effects of exercise and physical activity on the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and metabolic disease, such as coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, are well known. 
  • Older adults who report more physical activity in their leisure time, or who are more physically fit, have been shown to perform better on tests related to decision-making and memory performance. 
  • Healthy older adults who are more physically active show greater brain tissue volume than those who are sedentary.
  • Exercise stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and new neurons in the brain.  Exercise may help maintain the electrical connections between brain areas related to memory and decision-making.
  • Do you want to learn what you can do to prevent memory loss?

Recommendations

  • Aerobic activity--

o   moderate intensity (5-6 on a 10 point scale) minimum of 30 minutes, five days per week

o   or vigorous intensity (7-8 on a 10 point scale) minimum of 20 minutes, three days per week

  • Muscle-strengthening activity -- minimum of two days each week consisting of 8-10 exercises involving the major muscle groups.  The weight used should allow 10-15 repetitions of each exercise.
  • Flexibility activity – Static stretching activities, not the bouncing type of stretching, should be performed at least two days per week, at least 10 minutes each day.
  • Balance exercise – is recommended for those at risk for falls. 

 

You should have an activity plan, and consult with your physician before starting an exercise program.

 

For people who are not active, it is best to start below the minimum recommendation and slowly progress.  For example, activity can be accumulated over the day in shorter sessions at least 10 minutes in duration.  It may take several months to work up to the minimum recommendation.  And, social support is very important to help you to not quit doing your exercise.  So find a friend, and exercise together!
 

Sources

Nelson, M. E., Rejeski, W. J., Blair, S. N., Duncan, P. W., Judge, J. O., King, A. C., et al. (2007). Physical activity and public health in older adults: recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 39(8), 1435-1445; Circulation, 116(9), 1094-1105.