Amazing Health Benefits of Exercise

By | January 16, 2018

According to an article by Patrick B. Massey M.D., exercise is not only broadly beneficial for people of all ages, capable of improving nearly all medical conditions, it can even improve many symptoms of the elderly institutionalized with Alzheimer’s.

Several studies over the past several years have demonstrated that even our cognitively impaired elderly for whom Alzheimer’s and institutionalized care is common, can show dramatic health improvements from regular exercise.

Among the benefits cited were normalized sleep patterns where patterns had previously been erratic, nearly universal and significant reduction of agitation and reduced use of psychoactive medications along with their side effects. As if to emphasize the point, for some little-understood reason, patients with the highest initial agitation scores often showed the most dramatic improvements.

In a recent study at St. Louis University School of Medicine in Missouri, 50 severely cognitively impaired nursing home residents participated in a supervised exercise program for three weeks. The exercise sessions mostly involved walking, along with some light weightlifting and ball throwing and typically lasted only about 20 minutes. They conducted these brief exercise classes only three times per week. The residents experienced decreased agitation, improved sleep and decreased use of medication after this light but regular exercise regime. Did I mention they only kept this up for three weeks?

Researchers concluded that the quality of life of even severely cognitively impaired patients can be quickly and substantially improved by very simple programs of regular exercise. The participants also showed enthusiasm to participate and compliance with the program was very high. The elderly looked forward happily to their exercise classes so the un-measurable benefits of a more joyful and life-engaging attitude also seem to increase with regular physical activity.

If even such a simple and undemanding exercise program as this can yield such rapid and effective results for elderly patients with cognitive impairments, then how many of these degenerative symptoms might stem largely from of a lack of exercise in the first place? How many of us passively embrace a progressive decrease in regular physical activity as we mature?

Perhaps regular physical exercise, at any age, is far more important for our health, well-being and mental powers than we’ve yet to realize. Maybe more of us are coming to embrace regular exercise as a core component of maintaining our good health and preventing our physical, mental and psychological decline. Maybe we’re just thinking about it more without changing our habits.

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Product Description
Web Article from 2007, republished for 2009.
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