One thing we do daily at each of our adult day care centers is physical fitness, modified for the memory impaired and those with limited mobility. Dancing is big and a great form of movement that everyone enjoys, at least our our Glenner Centers. We do it not just because it's fun but because it serves a vital function in the aging process and brain health -- by getting that heart rate up a bit for 20 or 30 minutes, you are also improving blood flow to the brain. And that helps a brain function better.
There's no shortage of research linking exercise to better health. Not only does a walk or a session of chair aerobics do the heart good, but it helps manage stress and mitigate depression -- two mental health issues that most family members face at some point in their life and more frequently when there's a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia in the home.
Conversely, there's growing scientific evidence that the lack of exercise raises the risk of dementia as we age.
So for today's tip, get moving. If you can, schedule a 15-, 20- or 30-minute walk and make it a part of your daily routine. If you can't walk, then pop in a DVD and move along to the instructor in your living room or den or bedroom if you have the room. Pay close attention to keep your arm strength and upper body flexible too. It will help you self-dress and bathe longer in life.
To learn more about our physical therapy and daily exercise at Glenner Centers, contact our staff at a center nearest you. Our phone numbers are: South Bay, (619) 420-1703; Hillcrest, (619) 543-4704; and Encinitas (760) 635-1895.