Researchers at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis have found a link between adults who start cardiovascular regimen early in life, and their memory conditioning in the middle age. According to the results, active individuals performed 12 percent better in cognitive tests for every extra minute on the treadmill 25 years back. This groundbreaking study confirms the longstanding belief that active lifestyle in young adulthood has far-reaching consequences later in life.
Cognition is the brain’s ability to learn, think, and process information that is used in practically all the daily human activities, from cooking to social interactions, and managing finances to managing stress. The importance of cognitive health is critical because the disorders associated with it are not always identifiable. The disorders include life debilitating conditions such as schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, neurological motor disorders, and many other disorders associated with the brain. These conditions are worsened due to pharmaceutical treatments, and their side effects.
These results come at a good time as the new Affordable Healthcare system goes in effect. President Barack Obama’s healthcare system can only work if the current trends in nation’s health are reversed. Even though this may take some time, it does not mean other steps cannot be taken now to move the system in the right direction.
According to the latest numbers from Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, and a new patient joins this group every 67 seconds. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., with 500,000 people dying each year from it. One in three seniors dies with this disease. From an economic point of view, more than $220 billion of unpaid care was provided to these patients in 2013. It is the most expensive disease in the U.S., and at this rate, it is estimated to cost $1.2 trillion by 2050, in today’s dollars. This is a good reason to start cardiovascular conditioning early in life, and help improve memory functions.
Keeping the healthcare system solvent for future generations will require an effort from all. It is already known motor skills deteriorate with age, leading to less active lifestyle compared to younger years. Therefore, adopting a good cardiovascular workout regimen is much more critical early in life.
Besides the memory and other health benefits from keeping active throughout one’s life, these habits also get passed on to later generations, and improve overall quality of life. There have been other studies done showing that getting up early in the morning and going for a jog can help reduce body fat, and increase metabolism as well. This helps the body continue to burn fat throughout the day, even while sleeping. By adopting active lifestyle and committing to physical fitness early in life, individuals can improve their physical and mental health, and contribute to bringing an affordable healthcare system to all.
Author of the study, Dr. David R. Jacobs, also said, “Health starts in childhood, or even before birth.” The implied meaning here is that for those adults having children, an early start to good lifestyle choices may not only affect their memory conditioning, but also of their unborn child later. By bringing the cost of healthcare down through active lifestyle management, these future parents can pass on the legacy of good health and a good healthcare system to the future generation.
Opinion by Amit Singh