To Your Health: Exercise, Dementia, Parkinson’s & Other Chronic Diseases

To Your Health: Exercise, Dementia, Parkinson’s & Other Chronic Diseases

Dr. Alan Safdi, a world-renowned internist and gastroenterologist with encyclopedic knowledge of mind-body wellness and preventative medicine, returns to Telluride Inside… and Out with a series of posts under the banner of “To Your Health.” His blogs will feature the most current information in his field: healthy, wellness and longevity. He continues this week by looking at the impact of exercise on chronic conditions such as dementia and Parkinson’s Disease.

Some of that learning will also be showcased in three-day seminars Safdi and his partner, radiologist Dr. William Renner, are offering this winter at The Peaks Resort & Spa in Mountain Village to medical professionals, whose participation qualifies them for at least 16 hours of Category 1 CME or CEU credits. The general public is also welcome.

Subjects under discussion at the Symposiums will answer other questions such as: What are the risks and rewards of supplements, including multivitamins? Should women be getting regular mammograms? What are the alternatives on the horizon for breast cancer screening? These and other important health-related subjects – micro-nutrients, common medical disorders and nutrition – will be addressed, revealing findings, not opinions, from evidence-based medical research.

For further information, email or go to Safdi’s Telluride Longevity Institute website. And please scroll down to find out about Dr. Safdi’s Live Longer Retreat wellness intensives planned for this coming summer.

Several recent studies on exercise include exciting and extremely important take-away points for all of us. I will discuss dementia and Parkinson’s disease as promised, but first let’s review some salient points from those studies on a subject near and dear to my heart: Exercise as preventative medicine.

As you will soon see exercise relates to the larger subject of this post about looking for way to prevent some of the chronic conditions that plague our population.

Exercise has been proven to have multiple and significant health benefits. A graded, inverse relationship between exercise and the development of common chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease, gallstones, hypertension, anxiety and depression, osteoporosis, diverticulosis, chronic kidney disease and some cancers has been observed.

One study reports that people in advanced age who exercise regularly are around 10 years younger in terms of motor skills than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. A 50-year-old who exercises regularly is as fit as an inactive 40-year-old. Those who do less than 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity per week, as recommended by the World Health Organization, are 4X more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes.

Another very important study was conducted in Germany on a group of individuals who have the genes that predispose them to Alzheimer’s disease. However, the results of that study are very important even if you do not have these genes.

The research included a group of individuals who carry mutations associated with a rare, genetically driven form of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Physical activity of at least 150 minutes a week was linked to less Alzheimer’s disease-like pathology, better cognitive outcomes, and delayed diagnoses of very mild dementia. If further research confirms a relationship between physical activity and later onset of dementia symptoms in autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease, then we need to expand the scope of the work to see if it also is true in populations of millions of people with more common, late-onset Alzheimer’s.

Another devastating condition as we age is Parkinson’s disease. A recent meta analysis found that moderate and vigorous physical activity was tied to a lower risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in men.

In studies that collectively included more than 500,000 people, an inverse dose-response link emerged between physical activity and Parkinson’s disease risk among men. Specifically, only moderate or vigorous activities were found to be significantly associated with the decreased risk for PD.

More recent research has found similar results.

The Veterans Exercise Testing Study, a cohort study of 7,347 male veterans that measured physical fitness objectively by maximal exercise testing, reported a strong inverse association between physical activity and Parkinson’s: men who had a high versus low level of fitness had a 76% reduction in the incidence of Parkinson’s.

The results from the large study showed a significantly reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease tied to the highest levels of either total physical activity or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (up to 79 percent reduction). Light physical activity was not tied to Parkinson’s risk, so it may be important for us to pick up our pace a bit and dig into that too.

Working with Dr. Safdi, more:

Dr. Alan Safdi

And back by popular demand, this summer, in partnership with the Peaks’ Spa, Dr. Safdi is once again offering three, week-long wellness intensives titled Live Longer Retreat.

Again, using an evidence-based, scientific approach to health and longevity and featuring an experienced staff of medical professionals, personal trainers, Pilates and yoga instructors, dietitians, and chefs, the focus is on your unique wellness profile. Each Live Longer Retreat is one-of-kind in the U.S. Those intensives, limited to only 10 – 15 participants, will include personal consultations, hiking, spinning, yoga, Pilates, talks and demonstrations related to nutrition, cooking classes, and more.

Go here to read a review of the experience by one very satisfied participant.

Feel free to sign up now to participate in a Live Longer Retreat  – or call 1-877-448-5416 for further information.

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