RESEARCH SHOWS EXERCISE BENEFITS IN ALZHEIMER PATIENTS
While Alzheimer’s is commonly a disease that affects people 65 and older, it doesn’t discriminate. But someone who finds out earlier may have the advantage of prolonging the effects, through something simple… exercise.
Dr. Geoffrey Kerchner of Stanford Neurology and Neurological Sciences says medications can only go so far.
"If there's a nerve cell in the brain that's destined to die, it's not going to save the nerve cell,” Kerchner said. “But there has been research on exercise, and aerobic exercise does seem to have the capacity to slow down how fast the disease progresses."
At the Humboldt Senior Resource Center, exercise as a treatment is nothing new. Misty Starbuck oversees the therapy department and says social treatments are just as important as physical ones.
“For a lot of our clients they don't have anyone,” Starbuck said. “If they didn't come to the center they would sit at home and they would literally wither away because our bodies are meant to move.”
Patients participate in group activities, as well as individual ones and are constantly moving.
“I really promote movement here, it's really important,” Starbuck said. ”It also helps decrease confusion, increase your cognitive abilities, increase memory, it gives people a social opportunity.”
Kerchner says research shows exercise can also be beneficial for people who already have Alzheimer’s.
“What that suggests is that aerobic exercise can slow down the illness in somebody who already has the illness and for people who don't yet have it can help stay off," he said.