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Exercise for brain power

BEYOND IMPROVING STRENGTH, STAMINA,

AND FLEXIBILITY, AEROBIC EXERCISE SUPPORTS COGNITION.

A RECENTLY RELEASED analysis of multiple research studies suggests seniors with mild cognitive impairment or risk for Alzheimer’s disease who regularly engaged in exercise demonstrated slower cognitive decline.

“Exercise can sharpen your brain function, especially when you introduce new activities into your routine,”

says Karen Wirtanen, MS, CCC/SLP, Prevea Health speech- language pathologist. “Improved brain function can result from doing something as simple as exploring a new walking path or exercising on a different machine at the gym.”

THREE THINGS TO TRY

Freshen up your workout routine by trying something new.

• Short but sweet—Set a timer and fit as much brisk movement as possible into a 10-minute session.

• Shuffle the schedule—Instead of your usual after- dinner stroll, take an early morning walk or bike ride.

• Explore the possibilities—Why not take a class in belly, ballet, ballroom, or tap dancing?

For added fun, ask someone to join you.

“Having a workout partner is motivating and offers social benefits as well,” Wirtanen says. “Many seniors tend to

feel isolated, which can lead to depression and inactivity. Exercising with someone is a great way to stay connected

while also enhancing health and cognitive function.”

WQOW Staff

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