Preventing Alzheimer’s Part 1 – Health and Wellness Wednesday

Recent studies show Alzheimer’s disease may soon outpace heart disease.

Lynn Kelley, Health and Wellness Wednesdays

Do you find that information as alarming as I do? Has Alzheimer’s or dementia affected someone you know?

A Recent Study on Preventing Alzheimer’s

Presently, there’s no known cure. However, a recent study published in The New England Journal of Medicine reported there are things we can do to help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia:

“Among leisure activities, reading, playing board games, playing musical instruments, and dancing were associated with a reduced risk of dementia.”

Lynn Kelley, Alzheimer's Prevention

Photo: Courtesy of Bernard-Verougstraete at Pixabay

I find this info absolutely amazing and exciting. So, we don’t have to engage in tortuous, mind-bending exercises in order to lower our risks for developing Alzheimer’s. By participating in fun, stress-relieving activities, we may be able to ward off the stinking, heart-breaking, brain-erasing disease.

Lynn Kelley, Alzheimer's Prevention

Photo: Courtesy of Stevepb at Pixabay

Now, doesn’t that make you want to get up and do a happy dance?

Lynn Kelley, Alzheimer's Prevention

Image courtesy of Pixabay

More Good News

An article in Getting Healthier titled How Dancing Can Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease addresses how creative thinking and making decisions helps improve memory and brain function. Here are some recommendations it lists for activities that involve creative thinking:

  • Ballroom dancing
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Reading
  • Learning a foreign language
  • Small detail crafts such as needlework, knitting and sewing
  • Cooking classes and practice
  • Learning a new skill
  • Drumming

Which ones sound good to you?

Seems like my altered art scrapbooking would fall under the “small detail crafts.” Woo hoo!

Lynn Kelley, Alzheimer's Prevention

Page from altered art book

Cooking classes and practice? Ugh, not my cup of tea, but I may have to get back into the kitchen. Once upon a time, I used to bake very cool and delicious dishes and desserts.

Dancing Rocks

Another stellar article I found is titled Dancing Makes You Smarter, Longer. It’s from Stanford (link is listed below) and it discusses that same study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Lynn Kelley, Alzheimer's Prevention

Image courtesy of Pixabay

The article states “One of the surprises of the study was that almost none of the physical activities appeared to offer any protection against dementia.  There can be cardiovascular benefits, of course, but the focus of this study was the mind.

“There was one important exception:  the only physical activity to offer protection against dementia was frequent dancing.

  • Reading – 35% reduced risk of dementia
  • Bicycling and swimming – 0%
  • Doing crossword puzzles at least four days a week – 47%
  • Playing golf – 0%
  • Dancing frequently – 76%. That was the greatest risk reduction of any activity studied, cognitive or physical.”

According to Juliette Siegfried, Master of Public Health, “Improvements to cognitive function occur when we learn something new, something we haven’t done before. The dancers in the recent study who showed the most resistance to dementia practiced what is referred to as freestyle social dancing – foxtrot, waltz, swing, tango, and Latin dance.”

Lynn Kelley, Alzheimer's Prevention

Image courtesy of Pixabay

This is great news for me since dancing is my favorite form of exercise. I usually dance at home while I’m cleaning.

Lynn Kelley, Alzheimer's Prevention

Image: Courtesy of Mohamed Hassan at Pixabay

Senior Center

Last week I started a beginner’s tap dance class at a local senior citizen center. Anyone 50 and over qualifies as a senior. For $3.00 a lesson, you can’t beat that.

While it may not be ballroom dancing, I’ll still learn new skills by taking tap. My senior center offers ballroom dancing classes, too. I guess I could sign up by myself, but I’d rather take it with George. Dancing is not his passion, though.

Talent is Not Required

Lynn Kelley, Alzheimer's Prevention

Image: Courtesy of ErikaWittlieb at Pixabay

Unfortunately, dancing is not appealing to many men. However, it goes without saying we do not have to be talented as far as doing those recommended leisure activities in order to improve our memories and lower our risk of getting dementia or Alzheimer’s. We reap the benefits throughout the process of learning new skills.

So, regardless of having two left feet, no rhythm, no experience in dancing or doing those other activities, our brains still improve.

Lynn Kelley, Alzheimer's Prevention

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Experts suggest we start doing these activities now and keep doing them frequently.

Loved Ones Affected by Alzheimer’s

My father has had slow progressing Alzheimer’s for years. He’s physically fit and at almost 85 years old plays tennis two or three times a week. Dad used to do crossword puzzles every day, which should have lowered his risk by 45% according to that study. And, man, can he dance.

Lynn Kelley, Alzheimer's Prevention

Mom and Dad a week before their 65th anniversary

So, why did he get this dreaded disease? My hunch is his diet has contributed to his Alzheimer’s. Although I can’t prove it, there are plenty of unhealthy additives in processed foods and beverages, so we’ll  address nutrition and healthy eating in future posts.

Part 2 will cover another fun activity which is helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s, plus it helps people who already have it.

What are your thoughts? Are you familiar with this study? Do you participate in any of those leisure activities? Are there any new ones that sound appealing to you?

I’d love to hear from you.

Please share this valuable information with others. Let’s spread the good news.

If you’d like to receive future posts, you can sign up by email. Fill in your address in the window in the sidebar under the welcome video.

Thanks for stopping in!

New England Journal of Medicine article

Use it or Lose It: Dancing Makes You Smarter, Longer – Stanford

How Dancing Can Prevent AD

Lynn Kelley, Alzheimer's Prevention

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23 Responses to Preventing Alzheimer’s Part 1 – Health and Wellness Wednesday

  1. Pambelina says:

    Very important subject you have chosen…I’m looking forward to your posts.
    It’s a very sad condition and hopefully the preventative measures will help a lot of people!

  2. Marilyn Powell says:

    Very good article Lynn! I’ve always loved to dance! Now that my body has A Fib and Asthma, my breathing isn’t good enough for any dancing! I wish your father had taken over some of the responsibilities for the daily challenges at keeping our home running smoothly. It would of help him, as it’s helped me! I’m the lady that does everything!
    We live and learn! Love, Mom

    • You may not be able to dance like you used to, Mom, but you’ve got other things working in your favor, so keep crocheting and learning new things. As care giver, it takes a huge toll on you, so taking care of yourself is so important. Love you, Mom!

  3. Patricia says:

    I’m so glad you’re tap dancing!!! It is so much fun. Just making those tapping sounds is fun, fun, fun. Keep it up.

    I’m going to try some yoga this year, assuming my current health condition allows. I often have zero energy so I’m not sure I’ll be up for it, but there is a very gentle class offered near my home that’s only $5 a class.

    Thanks for sharing this info. I’m glad all those years of dance and music lessons may have some long term benefits. Now, that eating healthy part – yeah – that part. That part needs some work.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • I still need to find a pair of tap shoes. I’m looking forward to hearing those tap sounds as I learn the steps. I can tell tap dancing is going to be a blast.

      Good for you planning on doing yoga, Patricia. That’s another thing on my list. I’ve heard it’s beneficial in so many ways and $5 a class is a great price. The healthy eating will be easier when you regain your strength. It’s challenging for most of us since we’re being tempted constantly.

      Happy dancing and happy yoga. Thanks for stopping in!

  4. I had not seen this study before. I’d heard that reading, puzzles, and learning help, but not dancing. Cool! Now if only I had the energy to dance…

    • I’m surprised this study hasn’t been covered much because most people I know haven’t heard about it. We’ll have to get the word out.

      I know what you mean about having the energy to dance. I’m not the most energetic bunny on the block, but I’ll work up to it slowly. I’m guessing we can take it at our own pace, even at home learning from YouTube tutorials. Little by little. I’ll be posting some fun tutorials. Any new skills we learn are going to benefit us.

      Thanks for visiting, Jennette!

  5. This is a great article, Lynn! I do a lot of the mental activities, so let’s hope my risk of getting Alzheimer’s is low, but I do know that I need to exercise more for the cardiovascular health.

  6. Maria Cisneros Toth says:

    Wonderful, insightful, and well written article, Lynn! I love going to Disneyland where I get a lot of walking in, and I love to craft and create fun videos for my YouTube channel. I still tap my toes a little, but I don’t do the Funky Chicken like I used to. Looking forward to more health related articles in this series! Also, your blog site looks awesome! 🙂

    • Aw, thanks so much, Maria! It’s amazing how much distance we can cover in a day at Disneyland. Yep, lots of creativity goes into your crafts and your videos. I forgot about the Funky Chicken! Keep on tapping, even if it’s just a little. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

  7. Eden Mabee says:

    I wonder if it’s because of the complex interplay of memory and body as well as constantly trying to predict a partner’s moves (even the best dancer can make mistakes or have to react to something else going on around him/her)… All that brain activity has to be good for increasing the number of brain connections. And those, I’ve heard, are the best thing for defense against dementia.

    Just a thought….

    • Exactly, Eden. It’s the rapid-fire response required for ballroom dancing. Seems that women benefit more because they have to follow the man’s lead. So you are right on in your assessment! This is all fascinating, isn’t it? Thank you for stopping in.

  8. Thanks for shining a light on this important subject. Interestingly, the same precautions reduce the risks for dogs and cats! (my area of expertise *s*) Practicing mind-stimulating games like tricks, or having cats “hunt” for their hidden bowl of kibble, keeps their brains nimble. And…maybe music (since my dog used to howl when I sang or played my instruments, LOL!).

    • Oh my gosh, Amy, that’s awesome! It makes perfect sense, though. Thank you for this amazing info. I’ll add it to Part 2 of the post. Yes, music is one of the other things, and that will be covered in Part 2. I’m so glad you stopped in and shared your expertise with us!

  9. Roya Ferdosian Ardelan says:

    Thanks for sharing this valuable information you rock!

  10. Yvette Carol says:

    Terrific post, Lynn. I loved your video!!!! LOL. What a good idea to take up tap dancing. I danced Salsa and Rueda for many years (that’s how I met the boys’ father) but haven’t done any in about a decade. I do love to dance, though! 🙂

    • Thanks, Yvette. How awesome you know how to dance Salsa and Rueda. I’m not familiar with Rueda. I’ll have to look for a YouTube video. I’m thoroughly enjoying tap dance, even though I’ve only gone to two classes so far and still need to buy tap shoes. I’m severely challenged, but it’s fun, and I know once I learn the steps and build up my stamina, I’m going to tap dance all around the house and out on my patio! Haha! Thanks for visiting!

  11. Pingback: Preventing Alzheimer's and Dementia Part 2 - Health & Wellness Wednesday - Lynn Kelley, AuthorLynn Kelley, Author

  12. Hi Lynn! So sorry I have been missing lately. How is the tap going? I started tap dancing, oh my gosh, early, like 5 or 6 years old. Then I took it up again in my late twenties. It’s really a lot of fun. I have not heard of this study, although like Jennette, I have heard that reading and puzzles are very helpful. Got to keep that mind of ours stimulated. It is so sad that Alzheimer’s is on the rise. But we are all being exposed to so much aluminum from our environment. It’s in our toothpaste, we cook with it, we drink out of aluminum cans, and…those darn chemtrails. They’re spraying nano particles of aluminum dioxide that can penetrate through our skin and the air that we breathe, along with strontium, barium and other heavy metals. Almost everyday. (Weather modification) So we’re all exposed. Eat lots of cilantro Lynn! And keep on dancing!! ((Hugs)) <3

    • Lynn Kelley says:

      Hi Karen! Well, you’re a wealth of information. You’d make a perfect health coach. Thank you for sharing all that with us. The Alzheimer’s series will be ongoing, so I’ll continue doing posts on it, but the next two weeks I’m going to deal with things that help prevent the flu since we’re in the middle of flu season.

      I’ve had three classes of tap dancing so far, and I love it, even though it’s challenging. The women who took it as little girls have an easier time picking it up. Taking classes of any kind weren’t an option when I was a kid. My mom was busy raising all of us and had no time (or money) to sign us up for anything. Amazing that I had a wonderfully happy childhood despite being deprived of dance, baseball, or anything else! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your knowledge with us!

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