Alzheimer’s Association encourages exercise to help the brain

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As people are thinking about New Year’s resolutions, those with the Alzheimer’s Association encourage people to think about incorporating more exercise into their lives.

Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Missouri Vice President of Programs, Sarah Lovegreen, said research shows healthy lifestyle choices, such as exercise, may reduce the risk of cognitive decline and help reduce the risk of dementia.

“We know it helps our heart,” Lovegreen said. “We know it helps our brain and also when we think about brain help, we also think about ways to challenge our brain, ways to stay socially engaged, ways to try new things, and exercise can provide all of those opportunities to us as well.”

Lovegreen said exercise doesn’t just help with short-term impacts.

“We know that Alzheimer’s disease, and some of those hallmark brain changes that we see in our brains, can come to fruition 20 years before we would see symptoms in our bodies and in our behavior,” Lovegreen said. “It’s important to start at any age, no matter where you are on the age spectrum, exercise and those healthy habits are going to have a positive impact to brain health down the line.”

Mark Applegate’s mom, Brenda, has end-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Applegate said early in her diagnosis, he was 360 plus pounds.

“Just learning what in the world Alzheimer’s even is, three years ago, Applegate said. “Thinking, well, are there things to kind of prevent it?”

He said he quickly found out exercise and picking up a new hobby of running could help.

“Right now, I’m in the process of what they call the 5K per day challenge, so I’m running 5K per day,” Applegate said.

He said he’s now lost more than 100 pounds and encourages others to think about their overall health heading into the new year.

“I’m still dad bod,” Applegate said. “I’m not exactly Jeff Galloway, the distance runner. It’s worth a shot. Anything we can do to get rid of this disease, we’ll do.”

To read more about Applegate’s journey, click here.

The Alzheimer’s Association has more tips on how to help love your brain.

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