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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Exercise Delivers Big Returns for Brain Health

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Monday, July 25, 2022   

Cognitive decline is a fear as people age, but experts say daily exercise can boost brain health and even improve quality of life for those diagnosed with dementia.

Walking, water aerobics, chair yoga - even gardening can increase a person's heart rate - causing more blood and oxygen to reach the brain. This in turn releases hormones that help brain cells grow and regenerate.

Lisa Dedden Cooper - interim senior policy and research advisor for Policy & Brain Health at AARP - said the popular phrase "use it or lose it" applies to both physical and brain health.

"The research suggests that being physically active helps repair and protect chemicals in the brain," said Cooper. "It increases your circulation, reduces anxiety."

Cooper said the risks of diabetes, heart disease, depression and stroke can all be reduced by exercise. Experts say between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise daily is the key to a long, sharp life.

AARP offers yoga, meditation and free Zumba classes at 'aarp.org/houstonevents.'

Yuri Amor Pérez has been teaching fitness classes for seniors for 15 years - and is a bilingual yoga, Zumba & High-Intensity Interval Training instructor, and the founder of Fitmix Communities.

Perez said she has seen regular stretching and breathing exercises improve stamina and memory, especially in her dance classes.

"They learn steps, they learn the movements - because just a little bit of balance also is great for brain health," said Perez. "So, they keep memorizing all those steps, all those ideas. Those little things they keep thinking and remembering, and it's some new information that is exciting and really good for them."

Cooper noted that physical inactivity also can be a significant risk factor in developing dementia, and those living with a diagnosis often report improved health overall from daily exercise.

"Reduced physical activity in people with dementia leads to this decrease in muscle mass and strength," said Cooper. "And it increases their weakness and their risk for falls, and falls are the leading cause of hospitalization for people with dementia."

Cooper reminded older adults who exercise to hydrate, because aging causes the sensation of thirst to decrease and dehydration is another common reason for hospitalization.

More information about brain health and AARP's "Staying Sharp" program is online at 'stayingsharp.aarp.org.'



Disclosure: AARP Texas contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Health Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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