The other day I went to visit a friend who has Alzheimer's Disease at her Assisted Living Facility. She appeared to have declined since my last visit. She was walking very slowly and tentatively, she shut her eyes several times and had to be prompted to open them, and her voice was almost inaudible.

So I went into trainer mode...we walked, climbed stairs and did chair squats for almost one and a half hours. She really perked up during my visit. Her gait and speed improved, her color got better and she was communicating much better by the time I left.  

I later spoke with her daughter who told me that she was able to have a conversation with her! Did I mention that she finished all her lunch, something I hadn't seen her do in a year?

I set out to find out why a good dose of cardiovascular exercise seemed to improve her condition, even if temporarily. As it turns out there is a huge amount of evidence to support the benefits of exercise for Alzheimer's patients. One article posted on the UK Alzheimer's Assocation explained it clearly..."Exercising together will be beneficial to the person with dementia and anyone accompanying them. Exercise burns up the adrenalin produced by stress and frustration, and produces endorphins, which can promote feeling of happiness. This will help both parties relax and increase their sense of well-being. Exercise helps develop a healthy appetite, increases energy levels and promotes a better night's sleep."

Tags:Aging Parents Alzheimer's Dementia Exercise Memory Loss

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Sibyl Adams, Seniority Matters’ featured fitness blogger, has spent three decades in the health and fitness field. She began competing in local body building events in 1980, and by 1983, she was second in her weight class in the International Arm Wresting Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica. Sibyl remained active in the body-building scene for more than a decade, while also teaching aerobics and running races. She retired from body building in 1990, but continued running competitively until 2004, when she suffered an ankle injury.

Today, Sibyl works full-time as a personal fitness trainer and is president of her own company, A Personal Touch Fitness. She is a certified Reiki master, a National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF) Certified Trainer, and is currently pursuing a certification in yoga. She enjoys swimming, power-walking and playing with her grandchildren.

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