Sport and Dementia
Can sport help prevent Dementia?
Being physically active benefits not just our physical but also our mental health, with some research even suggesting that playing sport can help to prevent the onset of dementia.
Regular exercise strengthens, muscles, can increase or prevent decrease in bone density while the benefits of cardio vascular exercise are great for for improving circulation and keeping your heart healthy.
Research has shown that the thought processes involved during sport activity, when to pass, where or when, help stimulate the processes the brain employs for problem solving and quick -thinking solutions - something we generally use less and less as we get older.
One of the most promising recent discoveries is a hormone called irisin. The body releases irisin during exercise. Initially, believed to be just part of our metabolism process. Scientists discovered that irisin also promotes hippocampus growth, a part of the brain critical for memory. They also noticed that people with Alzheimer's had lower levels of irisin in their hippocampus. Therefore, it would seem that increasing your irisin levels by exercising more could help to prevent dementia.
So what about the other benefits of sport
Active by design sedentary by nature - is it no wonder that obesity and health problems start hammering away at us as soon as we hang up the boots, lay down the tennis racket or scrum down at the bar rather than on the pitch!
Exercise is essential to ou well being and healthy mind set and we're not even suggesting that you pound the streets mile after mile, swim the channel or indulge in hill walking. Walking regularly provides amazing benefits and what better way to make that walk even more interesting by kicking a football around while you're at it!
Benefits of exercise:
- Improve balance
- Better posture
- Increased strength
- Increased bone density
- Happy hormones - better mood
- Improved self-esteem
- Social interaction
- Reduced risk for bone cancers
- Reduced Dementia risk
There are so many benefits to regular exercise, that it seems crazy that we choose to ignore it and spend yet another hour on the sofa!
Walking football supplies both the thinking strategies needed for an active brain as well as the physical requirements and benefits of exercise. But if that doesn't take your fancy then check out these other activities that might just suit you better.