How much exercise did you get this week?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should incorporate both aerobics and muscle-strengthening exercises into their workout regimes each weekâspecifically two-and-a-half hours of moderately intense physical activity (i.e. fast walking) in addition to weight training for at least two days a week (working all major muscle groups).
For even better health benefits, older adults should do a similar mix of aerobic activity and strength training; for example, five hours each week of aerobic activity with strength training on two or more days a week.
Not only can exercise and weight training significantly influence your overall health and well-being, but in a study published in the journal Neurology, researchers discovered that seniors who are physically active tend to have fewer movement problems caused by white matter hyperintensities (age-related brain lesions associated with movement or motor function problems).
In the study, researchers from the Rush University Alzheimerâs Disease Center scanned the brains of 167 older adults. (The average age of each participant was 80.) The participants completed various movement and strength testsâphysical activity was measured with wrist monitor devices.
Researchers discovered that increased physical activity levels resulted in improved motor function. In contrast, greater amounts of age-related brain lesions were linked with poor motor function. However, the brain lesions were not connected with degenerated motor skills among the most active individuals.
The results suggest that larger amounts of physical activity may help prevent movement problems by enhancing blood flow to the brain. Weekly exercises also proved to help protect motor function skills from age-related brain damage.
Exercises for Parkinsonâs Diseases and Tremors
This research is particularly beneficial for people with Parkinsonâs disease, a condition that often becomes more common as people age, especially for those over the age of 50.
This progressive nervous system disorder can slow down movement, cause tremors, and lead to mood or cognitive problems. Parkinsonâs disease affects around a million people in the U.S. and there are about 60,000 new cases every year. One of the first signs of Parkinsonâs disease is a tremor in the hand, arm, or leg.
Exercises with large, rhythmical movements (i.e. yoga, tai chi, qigong, hiking, simple stretching, etc.) can help improve flexibility and balance, as well as increase your range of motion. Strength training is also importantâit typically focuses on weight lifting and resistance exercises, but can also include yard work or gardening. Aerobic exercises, such as skating, water aerobics, cycling, swimming, or walking, can also positively affect movement problems caused by white matter hyperintensities.
Finally, aim to incorporate nutritious supplements in your diet to help prevent and reduce symptoms of Parkinsonâs. Include vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and phosphatidylserine.
Recommended herbal remedies include ginkgo biloba extract, green tea, velvet bean, and fava bean.
See More :
âPhysical Activity May Reduce Age-Related Movement Problems,â National Institutes of Health web site, March 23, 2015; http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/march2015/03232015movement.htm.
Fleischman, D.A., et al., âPhysical activity, motor function, and white matter hyperintensity burden in health older adults,â Neurology 2015; 84(13): 1294-1300.
âPhysical Activity and Parkinsonâs Disease,â Parkinson Society Canada web site; http://www.parkinson.ca/site/c.kgLNIWODKpF/b.8005673/k.841/Physical_Activity_and_Parkinson8217s_Disease.htm, last accessed June 10, 2015.
Kivi, R., âEssential Tremor,â Healthline web site, August 7, 2012; http://www.healthline.com/health/essential-tremor#Overview1.
âParkinsonâs Disease Overview,â National Parkinson Foundation web site; http://www.parkinson.org/parkinson-s-disease.aspx, last accessed June 10, 2015.
âHow much physical activity do adults need?â Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site; http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html, last accessed June 10, 2015.
Jaslow, R., âCDC: 80 percent of American adults donât get recommended exercise,â CBS News web site, May 3, 2013; http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cdc-80-percent-of-american-adults-dont-get-recommended-exercise/.