Fighting Alzheimer’s With Exercise

Posted: July 21, 2011 in Alzheimer's and exercise, fit tips, hall of fame, research

I’m no Doctor.  And I’m no medical expert, however today Kyle shared a story with me today about 2 of his clients that I wanted to share with you.

Meet Virginia and Landon.  

Wonderfully sweet, happily married, 87 years old, and they’re in the gym.  Not just in the gym; these two are training with Kyle, pumping iron, together.  However they are doing more than trying to grow their muscles, their goal is to grow and strengthen Virginia’s mind.

Landon has always enjoyed time in the gym on his own, however when his wife, Virginia, started to show symptoms of Alzheimer’s he hoped they gym could help her too.  He recruited the help of Kyle and together they tackle the weights.

The Wall Street Journal published on article in March of this year entitled, “How to Outsmart Alzheimer’s“. The article cites work being done at the Neuroscience Research Institute at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to try and delay the onset of the disease with cognitive challenges.  It is estimated that 5.3 million Americans are affected by Alzheimer’s.  If research and “brain games” could delay the onset of the disease for even a few years we could see a yearly reduction of 500,000 cases.

At the institute they follow a three-pronged approach, one being cognitive challenges with fitness and diet (following a Mediterranean diet) being two other crucial factors.

Keeping the importance of diet and exercise in mind, Kyle, Landon, and Virginia have fun in the gym with a very serious purpose.

In order to stimulate Virginia’s brain and muscles, Kyle focused on unilateral training. Using her arms and legs independently helps to stimulate more neurons.  Much in the same way brushing your teeth with the opposite hand does.  They also make use of machines, which offers greater stability.  Kyle always tasks Virginia with keeping count of the reps and they work to challenge her memory by asking her what the different machines do.  

The study also highlighted a social aspect to cognitive decline.  Virginia and Landon look forward to coming to the gym and the social interaction they have there.

Other studies have confirmed the benefits of a good diet and exercise with a decreased/delayed onset of Alzheimer’s.

As someone who has lost someone very special to them, my Grandpa Joe, to Alzheimer’s, I am happy to see positive research coming out in regards to this elusive disease.  

Love and miss you.

 We already know the cardiovascular and bone-building benefits of exercise and this is just another diamond in the crown of fitness.  

Every time I see Kyle with Virginia and Landon it brings a smile to face and puts in tear in my eye.  Sometimes lifting a weight can mean so much more.

Love and fighting the good fight, 
Carissa & Kyle

Please forward this article to anyone you can think might benefit from the information here.

  1. Ashley D says:

    Can you email me a copy of this. I would like to give it to Michael's mom for his dad. ThanksAshley

  2. This brought tears to my eyes! what a wonderful post!

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