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Why Aerobic Exercise May Play a Role in the Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the current leading causes of death according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and the statistic of 5.5 million Americans currently affected by Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple by 2050. A fresh meta-analysis performed by researchers reveals that aerobic exercise may play a role in preventing the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.


The University of Connecticut conducted the meta-analysis led by Gregory Panza from the Department of Kinesiology and his colleagues. They examined 19 earlier studies on the effects of an exercise training program on cognitive functions in more than 1,100 older adults who had previously been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or were high risk for the neurodegenerative condition.

The researchers’ findings showed that the adults who participated in aerobics alone had three times the level of cognitive improvement compared to those who participated in both combined strength training exercise and aerobic training. Regardless of what exercise training program the adults were involved in, all experienced small improvements opposed to those whose cognitive function declined as a result of not exercising at all. Clearly, any and all exercise has the potential to reverse cognitive decline.

Aerobic Exercise

Researchers concluded that aerobic exercise was the most effective form of exercise to preserve and improve the cognitive function of older adults, but they also noted that further research would be necessary to corroborate their findings. “Our meta-analysis is the first to suggest that aerobic exercise may be more effective than other types of exercise in preserving the cognitive health of older adults at risk of or who have AD,” the study authors wrote. Their meta-analysis was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The conclusion of this meta-analysis is similar to findings from a study published in JAMA Neurology on the ability of high intense exercise to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease, another neurodegenerative disorder. You can read my article covering it here.

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More Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise isn’t only good for your brain, according to Mayo Clinic. Some of the other health benefits of aerobic exercise include:

• Longer life
• Mental clarity
• Reduced anxiety and increased mood boosts
• Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and boosts good cholesterol (HDL)
• A stronger heart
• Stamina
• Reduced fatigue
• Weight loss
• A stronger immune system

Not only does aerobic exercise give you multiple health benefits, but it also reduces your risk of other diseases like obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, strokes, and cancer. Aerobic exercise, like all forms of exercise, directly improves your quality of life.


The statistics for Alzheimer’s disease are expected to triple by 2050, indicating impending disaster for the brains of Americans nation-wide. Aerobic exercise is a safe and effective form of prevention you can undertake today to potentially lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Science continues to show us that food, exercise, sleep, and a variety of other factors are all involved in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Check out these other great articles by EMaxHealth: 10 Health Benefits of Royal Jelly and Why It May Be A Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease and How Sleep Apnea Increases Your Risk of Alzheimer's Disease.