Study: Physical activity is critical to prevention of Alzheimer’s disease

Simple physical activities can help with the creation of new brain cells, helping aid in the prevention of cognitive decline.
An 11-year study out of Finland shows 40% of Alzheimer's cases are preventable.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 4:10 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona has the fastest growth rate of Alzheimer’s in the country. A dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be so scary.

Well, it’s not just genetic. An 11-year study out of Finland shows 40% of cases are preventable. And we’re learning there’s quite a bit you can do now to improve your odds against getting diagnosed. Not just brain teasers but simple, intentional tweaks to your daily physical activity.

Carol Hahn knows the battle firsthand- she lost her dad 20 years ago. “Alzheimer’s disease, you know, it’s a downward progress, and it’s tough, especially for the family,” Hahn said. She’s also a registered nurse and personal trainer who’s made it her mission to educate others on the power of physical activity in prevention.

“It actually helps form new brain cells,” Hahn said.

Just like crossword puzzles, changing up simple daily physical activities can fire new pathways in your brain. “Brushing your teeth with your opposite hand,” Hahn said.

Activity with added engagement also strengthens your brain muscle. “So, for example, maybe you’re walking, and you’re counting backward by five,” Hahn said. And doing it with a friend offers even more of a cognitive boost. We saw the exact opposite with the pandemic.

Kirti Khasla’s mother was diagnosed about a year ago. “She was basically locked inside her house for probably a year, you know, with very, very limited contact, and we just saw a tremendous decline in her cognitive abilities,” Khalsa said.

Khalsa & her husband, Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, are co-founders of the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation.

“How you live your life, it definitely has an impact on how you age,” Khalsa said.

That’s the premise of her conference this weekend in Scottsdale… to focus on options beyond medication, arming patients, caregivers, and families with actionable next steps and hope. “You’ll be empowered, and you’ll also be able to set aside some of your fears and also know that you’re not alone because most people are concerned about it,” Khalsa said.

“We kind of have to push ourselves out of our limits sometimes,” Hahn said. And she’ll be there to help you do just that. “I don’t know if we can actually say prevent, but we’re reducing the risk of it. And we’re, and it’s healthy for your whole body.” Hahn said.

The conference is this weekend in Scottsdale, and it’s not too late to sign up.

Arizona’s family is once again sponsoring the annual Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s on November 4th at Wesley Bolin Plaza in downtown Phoenix.

See a spelling or grammatical error in our story? Please click here to report it.

Do you have a photo or video of a breaking news story? Send it to us here with a brief description.