How to live longer: The activity shown to reduce Alzheimer’s risk and improve bone health

Cognitive impairment and bone degeneration are unfortunately common conditions that occur as we age. Could an enjoyable activity help to not only combat those conditions but also help to further boost your longevity?

Okinawans practice martial arts, especially a dance-inspired version of Tai Chi.

Not only do Okinawans live longer, but they also age incredibly well.

Research has shown Tai Chi can be beneficial for people with chronic conditions, for example by improving balance among those with Parkinson’s disease.

Scientists have discovered that Tai Chi can help the process of cell renewal, proliferation and differentiation in the body so that it is in optimal working order.

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One study looked at more than 61,000 men with researchers tracking their health and lifestyle for more than five years.

Close to 22,000 participants reported that they exercised at least once a week, and the rest were considered non-exercisers.

After researchers took into account men’s age, health conditions and whether they smoked, exercise was tied to a 20 percent lower likelihood of dying.

In another study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the effect of tai chi on health outcomes in patients with chronic conditions was investigated.

The study noted: “Tai Chi appears to have physiological and psychosocial benefits and also appears to be safe and effective in promoting balance control, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness in older patients with chronic conditions.

“However, limitations or biases exist in most studies, and it is difficult to draw firm conclusions about the benefits reported.

“Most indications in which Tai Chi was applied lack a theoretical foundation concerning the mechanism of benefit. Well-designed studies are needed.”

Promotes bone health and reduces Alzheimer’s disease

As we get older numerous health problems develop due to cells getting older and becoming damaged.

As we age our body reabsorbs the cells which make up the structure of our bones faster than our body is able to generate new bones resulting in decreased bone density.

The same is true with the brain.

When we age, the production of cells which are involved in recalling thoughts and memories becomes reduced leading to Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

For people regularly practicing Tai Chi, new cells for the body’s response are generated.

The result is one feeling much more vibrant and boosting longevity in the long run.

In a meta-analysis of 20 studies on Tai Chi and cognition, Tai Chi appears to improve executive function—the ability to multitask, manage time, and make decisions—in people without any cognitive decline.

In those with mild cognitive impairment, Tai Chi slowed the progression to dementia more than other types of exercise and improved their cognitive function in a comparable fashion to other types of exercise or cognitive training.
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