Dementia: Exercise Versus The Brain-training Apps

Dementia is one of the most shocking diseases because …

It robs you of your memories, sharp thinking and steals what makes you YOU!

Here are 7 early detection warning signs:

#7 – Short-term memory issues… Example: “Why did I walk into this room?”

#6 – Can’t find the right words to express yourself… Example: “Can you bring me the… um…”

#5 – Changes in mood… Example: Frequent and unexpected feelings of depression and anxiety.

#4 – Feeling “blah” or emotionally flat

#3 – Previously easy tasks are now difficult… Example: Balancing your checkbook

#2 – Difficulty following along with or telling stories

#1 – Being repetitive… Example: Telling the same story to the same people over and over.

How many sound familiar to you?

It’s imperative individuals start focusing on reducing their risk for dementia, because currently there are no known treatments for it. Prevention trumps cure.

The WHO

The WHO recently released guidelines providing evidence-based recommendations on lifestyle behaviours that can delay or prevent cognitive decline (dementia).

They declared there was no long-term evidence supporting general improvement in cognitive performance through the use of Brain Training Apps despite their massive popularity.

Consumers spent an estimated $1.9 billion on digital brain health apps in 2018,
a fourfold increase from $475 million in 2012
” – SharpBrains

You simply get more proficient at whatever mental exercise you undertake.

The Role Of Physical Activity

Instead, general physical activity (active living) is among one of the most helpful things you can do. This is because at least 150 minutes of moderate movement per week (plus 2X weekly resistance training), yields not just body benefits but brain benefits too.

Further, to be most effective, you need to do it before cognitive decline starts. This go’s back to no current treatments for dementia. You don’t get Alzheimer’s survivors!

Scientific evidence supporting the role of exercise (cycling, walking, jogging, swimming, weight training) can be found in a systematic review published in PLOS One (2019) and another in Brain Science (2017).

How Does Moving The Body Benefit The Brain?

There are several possible pathways:

1. Physically active people are also more socially active (keeping their minds active too).

2. Physical activity increases blood flow to the forefront of the brain. This can help remove harmful metabolic waste and provide new blood flow pathways that can become alternate routes if others become blocked.

3. Moderate exercise also reduces the risks of developing hypertension or Type 2 diabetes (or reduces their severity). Both of which are linked with dementia.

4. Exercise can also help treat and prevent depression, enable better sleep (both additional dementia risk factors), as well as encourage a healthier diet and sensible alcohol intake.

So Which Is Better For Preventing Dementia: Exercise Or The Brain Training Apps

At present, I would argue exercise (and healthy living in general)! What’s good for your body is also good for your brain. So keep physically and socially active, eat healthfully, don’t smoke or binge-drink, get 7-8 hrs of quality sleep each night, and learn ways to keep your stress levels under control.

In Category: Exercise

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WellCoach Noel Lyons holds a Masters degree in Exercise + Health Science. Mixing 30 years experience with Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Sports Science and Best Practice, Noel coaches high performers worldwide to thrive (both personally & professionally) by maximising their Wellbeing levels.