Johns Hopkins Health Alert

The Good News on Exercise and Cognitive Decline

A reader of our Memory White Paper asks: “I’m 76 and want to keep my mind sharp. I’ve heard that physical activity helps, but I can’t do a strenuous workout. How much physical activity is enough?” Here’s our advice.

All mental functions, including memory, depend on an adequate supply of blood to the brain. Regular physical activity promotes better mental functioning by improving cerebral blood flow.

Research based on objective assessment of physical activity has begun to help doctors determine just how much activity might make a difference. Some insight comes from a recent study in the journal of Neurology.

For the study, researchers recruited 716 older individuals (average age, 82) who did not have dementia to participate in the four-year study. Initially, participants wore an actigraph for 10 days. This device provides an objective measure of the physical activity, including such things as washing dishes and playing cards. Memory and cognitive abilities were assessed yearly and participants self-reported their physical and social activities. Over the course of the study, 71 participants developed Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

People in the bottom 10 percent of total daily physical activity were more than twice as likely to develop AD as people in the top 10 percent. Those in the bottom 10 percent of intensity of physical activity were almost three times as likely to develop AD as people in the top 10 percent.

Take-away message. While these findings don’t prove that physical activity can ward off AD, they do suggest that all types of physical activity are beneficial – good news for any senior who might not be up to participating in more strenuous exercise program. Click here to learn more

Wellness and Health Tips

call-a-friend-when-in-painTip #4: Call a Friend
Keeping your social networks alive and well may help benefit your ticker over the long term. Social support has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, and people who do have heart attacks fare better if they are socially connected.

Tip #5: Eat Broccolibroccoli
For healthy gums, put this green vegetable on your grocery list. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C and provides calcium as well, both of which have been linked to lower rates of periodontal disease.

salmon filletTip #6: Go Fish
If you suffer from dry eyes, up your seafood intake. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids, which the body uses to produce tears, among other things. Research suggests that people who consume higher amounts of these fats are less likely to have dry eyes.

Tip #7: A Healthier Way to Cleaning an OvenovenCleaner
Conventional oven cleaners and other degreasers are among the most toxic household products around, according to the Washington Toxics Coalition. Some people recommend as an alternative: mix 2 cups baking soda, 1 cup washing soda (found in laundry aisles), 1 teaspoon dish soap, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar (thin with a bit of water if necessary).



Coming in January!

Tai Chi/Qigong Fundamentals II
10-class series, Weds 6:00-7:10PM, beginning January 7, 2015

This 10-class series continues and deepens the work begun in Fundamentals I, with additional Qigong study and further exploration of the dynamics of the Tai Chi Diagram, the “Master Key.” We will review the Wu/Hao 16-movement form, and learn additional movements from the 108-movement “Long Form.”

Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art and system of meditative movement used worldwide for fitness, stress reduction, balance, and well-being. Principles of motion based on Yin and Yang, body mechanics, proper alignment, knee safety, and whole body coordination serve as an introduction to further study.

The healing properties of Tai Chi derive from Qigong: the cultivation and movement of Qi or life energy to induce physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual equilibrium. Open to graduates of Fundamentals I or with permission of the instructor. Click here to register

MELT Method Upper Body
Intro class, Thurs 7:30-8:45PM, 1/15
4-class series, Thurs 7:30-8:45PM, 1/22, 1/29, 2/5 & 2/12

Hydration is essential for proper functioning of connective tissues throughout the body. The flow of fluids, called plasma or interstitial fluid, carries important nutrients to, and metabolic waste from, all cells in the body. Thomas Myers, in his book Anatomy Trains, indicates that in order to restore the muscle’s full function and connectivity with the central nervous system, it is necessary to reopen the tissue to help restore fluid.

MELT brings your body back to a more ideal state by directly enhancing body awareness, rehydrating connective tissue and thereby decreasing the rigid tissues that tend to accumulate from stresses of daily living. The first time you MELT, you can see and feel a difference. And over time, you can transform how your body looks and feels. This class will focus on techniques that help support and rehydrate muscular and connective tissues in the upper back, neck, shoulders, arms and hands. These techniques may be useful for helping resolve or prevent carpal tunnel, arthritis, neck and shoulder tension, and TMJ.

All participants in our 4-class series need to have completed a MELT Intro class or have permission from the instructor. Click here to register