Pilates to prevent Dementia… Really? I’m not sure about you but I am definitely noticing more memory glitches over the past few years with my own approaching (now arrived) menopause. An inability to locate keys, my struggles to remember the name of ‘whatsername’ who I see all the time and constantly asking my kids where the ‘thingamajig’ went.
Did you know that women are more at risk of dementia than men? 65% of people who currently have dementia are women. Oestrogen is neuro-protective and so the loss of oestrogen following the menopause increases our risk of dementia.
What can we do? Did I mention Pilates?
Most weeks whilst teaching I can be heard to say that we are practicing Dementia Prevention as we enjoy our Pilates Classes. Mostly when we have a giggle as we struggle to coordinate moving arms and legs in different directions whilst keeping on breathing! Now it turns out I am right, it’s official Pilates prevents dementia!
So Why Pilates? Well apart from the fact that I love Pilates for my own body, a number of studies have shown that Pilates is good for menopausal women because it helps improve physical fitness including balance and flexibility but also mental fitness (haelim et al).
Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and thus keeps the ‘plumbing’ open. As your heart rate increases during exercise this increases blood flow to the brain; this blood brings nutrients and hence promotes brain health. Resistance training is particularly beneficial as we find it increases levels of a protein called BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF promotes the survival of nerve cells (neurons) by playing a role in the growth, maturation (differentiation), and maintenance of these cells.
Studies show that regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing dementia by about 30 percent and for Alzheimer’s disease specifically, the risk was reduced by 45 per cent. Unfortunately the trend is that that postmenopausal women are more likely to be sedentary (inactive) and lose fitness as a result (Sowers et al., 2007). This loss of fitness is associated with a deterioration in health and leads to a lower quality of life overall (Martin et al., 2009).
Time for a Change?
Now we have another good reason to embrace an active lifestyle, but how do we make the changes we know we should?
- Start small, set achievable goals and take it one step at a time.
- The more exercise becomes a part of your daily routine, the easier it will be to get it done.
- If you have time, exercise in the morning before you can come up with excuses not to. Put out your exercise clothes the night before and jump into your gym gear before you have any time to think about whether or not to exercise.
- There is no doubt that joining a class will help you to keep motivated and accountable.
It’s always a real buzz for me to welcome new people and introduce them to the power of Pilates. I love to hear how much people are enjoying their classes and that they are feeling fitter, stronger and healthier as a result.
Precizion is a growing community and now offers a number of options to help you on your fitness journey including our LIVE online Pilates and Yoga Classes and our video Library Membership option. I look forward to welcoming you to Precizion and remember your First class is Free. No time like the present, book now… before you forget!
Moving Through Menopause Podcast
Check out this Podcast with Chartered Neurological Physiotherapist Susan Nightingale. Reduced levels of Oestrogen can impact memory before or during menopause. Oestrogen has a role in regulating a variety of brain chemicals, along with many functions of the nervous system. As your body’s oestrogen levels decrease this can cause occasional lapses in brain function, resulting in short-term memory issues. Susan is all to aware of what can go wrong in the brain through her work with stroke patients. However, there are lots of things we can all do to protect the brain and improve our brain function. Listen up to get the lowdown!