Alzheimer’s: Cut your risk by looking after your heart and brain

With Alzheimer’s now the cause of more deaths than heart disease, experts say the best way to take care of your brain is to look after your heart. Here’s how…

Get moving

Exercising for at least 150 minutes a week is the amount recommended to keep your heart healthy, says Lucy Wilkinson, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

But research shows that you can also improve both your memory and the speed at which you think things through in as little as four weeks with a combination of aerobics, strength training and stretching.

‘In the study that discovered this, participants did just 30 minutes of combined exercise three times a week,’ says nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD, author of Natural Solutions To Dementia And Alzheimer’s (£12.77, Lifestyle Press).

‘Other research has shown how exercise can increase the size of your hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that shrinks with Alzheimer’s.’

  • Break exercise down into doable chunks to motivate yourself, says Lucy. ‘For example, three fast 10-minute walks five days a week.’
  • Join a yoga class. In a study of over-55s, one hour of yoga a week, together with 20 minutes of meditation a day, had more benefits for the memory than doing a one-hour brain training session once a week.
  • Learn the ancient art of tai chi. A study in the Journal Of Alzheimer’s Disease found that practising its slow meditative exercises three times a week can increase your brain volume and improve your memory and thinking.


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