Reuters recently reported that a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes that for obese people over age 64, the combination of aerobic exercise and weight training is better for improving physical functioning than either form of exercise alone. Aerobic exercise and weight training, also known as resistance training, “have additive effects in improving your physical function,” chief author Dr. Dennis Villareal of the Baylor College of Medicine and the DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston told Reuters Health by phone. “Overall the patient feels it, and we were able to document that objectively.”
Not surprisingly, some of the participants had adverse events such as shoulder, knee, hip or back pain. One person in the aerobic group fell, receiving hand and forehead scrapes. Therefore, caregivers should consult with a senior’s doctor before any exercise regimen is implemented to determine what’s best for your loved one.
The Importance of Exercise and Dementia Prevention
According to Jennifer Heisz, a cognitive neuroscientist at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, nothing protects the brain quite like regular exercise. The Los Angeles Times recently reported a story noting that a recent study revealed that exercise can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive decline by about 35% to 45%.
Teresa Liu‑Ambrose, director of the Aging, Mobility and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of British Columbia, indicated that a exercise enhances blood flow to the brain, which can help keep it healthy and nourished. She also indicated that exercise helps prevent hypertension and diabetes, which are two major risks for dementia.
Heisz’s study found that exercise didn’t seem to prevent dementia in older people who carried the types of genes that make Alzheimer’s more likely. She says that’s probably because disease‑related brain damage had already progressed past the point of no return. But if they had exercised in their 30s or 40s, she adds, some of them might have been able to delay or perhaps even prevent the disease.