Alpine Physical Therapist, Brace Hayden, DPT , with the help of his esteemed co-worker, MS Graduate Candidate in Exercise Physiology, Laura Porisch, had the chance to present at the annual conference for the joint Montana Geriatric Society and the Governor’s Council on Aging last week in Helena. This was a 3-day conference entitled “Insights into Alzheimer’s Disease” with a variety of speakers and panel discussions on the looming topic of how do we prepare for the silver tsunami of aging baby boomers…losing their mind, or at least a large part of their memory and cognitive function.
Startling epidemiology reports published in a 2014 Neurolology journal estimate that the size of the older population (over 65) will double over the next 25 years, growing to 70 million by 2030. The US could expect a 44 – 70% increase in the prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease, with an estimated 7.7 million people affected in the next 10-15 years. The growing prevalence of Alzheimer’s Disease is estimated to soon affect every 1 in 8 Americans over 65 years old. Our fine state of Montana can expect an 81% increase in those affected by this neurological degeneration condition with numbers projected upwards of 29,000 in 2025.
Brace Hayden has a special interest in the Missoula community working with the often elderly population on balance, vestibular therapy (dizziness management) and the business of falls prevention. He jumped at the opportunity when asked to present at this statewide, multi-practitioner and lay public attended conference on the topic of “The Benefits of Physical Activity to Slow Cognitive Decline”, as fit/well-balanced seniors are near and dear to his PT heart. Preparing 110 slides over a 3 month period for a 90 minute presentation, on a topic he knew little about was his own dementia reduction physical exercise for the Spring.
The take-home message of the presentation was performing a routine cardiovascular exercise program 5 days per week for 20 – 60 minutes, has many “neuroprotective” health benefits. Increasing circulation and stimulation to your brain and body as you age not only can improve your chances of avoiding neurological illnesses like Alzheimer’s Disease, but it helps reduce many other health complications like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and strokes. So if you want to improve your chances of living a longer, healthier life, get out for some daily exercise. Your long-term physical, immune-system and cognitive health will benefit greatly.