Running and dementia

Running has lots of benefits for your health. I can't imagine there's anyone who doesn't know this.

The message is loud and clear. Running is good for your blood pressure, it lowers your cholesterol, it decreases your risk of a heart attack and it can help with depression.

Link between running and preventing dementia

Now there's even evidence there's a link between running and dementia. My granny developed Alzheimer's when I was about 12. She spent the final four years of her life in a nursing home. In the end she didn't even know who I was. Heck, she didn't even know who shé was!

So I've seen what dementia can do firsthand. I think dementia is a terrible disease. It strips away a person's dignity. I often wondered if the granny I knew was still in there. Was she still the same person? Or did the dementia change who she was? I still don't know.

Running for the health of your brain

But if there's anything I can do to minimize my risk of dementia, I'll do it. So I was glad to read that exercise benefits the health of your brain. So not only is running good for your body in general. It also protects your brain. But how does running do that?

Exercise increases your BDNF levels

It appears that there's a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor: BDNF. This protein protects agains degeneration of your braincells. Like Alzheimer's.

Patients suffering from dementia have less BDNF. But if you make sure you exercise, you may increase your BDNF levels as much as two- to threefold. Carl Cotman, a researcher and scientist, even calls BDNF 'brain fertilizer'!

BDNF is like a bodyguard agains dementia. So you wanna make sure your bodyguard is strong and in the best of health. And the way to keep your bodyguard healthy is to exercise. And what better way to exercise than running?

Dementia - Running reminder clock

Maybe they should create a runner's version of the dementia reminder clock. A dementia clock may say for example: 'Now it's Wednesday afternoon'.

Why not create a clock saying: 'Now it's time for a run!'

I'ld like to end this post with a lovely quote from Carl Cotman:

'I know sometimes when I'm working out I think, 'Oh boy, my BDNF levels are getting a boost!'

So I know what I'm going to be thinking on my next run!

1 comment

Lisa said...

Running is good for so many aspects of our health. Just one more reason to run!

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