Using Exercise To Fight Off Alzheimer's

As many of you know, I am a big believer in the importance of exercise. This is a good article.

That's my 91 year old mother at Gold's Gym.

Can dancing the "Macarena" help to prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease?

Melissa Clark, guest speaker at the Alzheimer's Health Fair held recently at the Toms River Senior Center, thinks it can.

"The more oxygen you take in, the more that is going to your brain," Clark told seniors as she demonstrated breathing exercises set to music.

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month. The senior health fair highlighted ways to relieve stress and keep mind, body and spirit alive, said Clark, of Bayville, who is also activities director at the Pines in Whiting.

Alzheimer's, a progressive and fatal brain disease, is the most common form of dementia and has no cure. As brain cells process and store information, large amounts of oxygen are needed. Efforts to prevent diseases like Alzheimer's include correct breathing, thought control, exercise and nutrition.

"Take the time to stop and focus," said Clark, who also advised seniors to, "Clear your thinking and keep your mind free of negative thoughts."

"People have the power to choose their thoughts and choose their happiness," said Clark, also a yoga instructor, who enjoys helping people reach a higher potential in mental fitness through proper knowledge of exercise, nutrition, stress relief and emotional and social wellness.

"Clear your mind, close your eyes, breathe and move," she said to seniors who were soon up on their feet laughing, dancing and having a great time.

"This is very relaxing," said Susan Kotler, who said she felt wonderful after the exercise dance. "Now I will do some at home."

"The lesson was very educational. She went into details," said center member Elizabeth Nasto.

Alice Fowler called the session very informative. The 84-year-old teaches an exercise class at the senior center three times a week.

Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey was represented by Lynette Whiteman, executive director, who helped to coordinate the event, along with representatives of Community Medical Center, Kimball Medical Center and the Ocean County Health Department.

Caregiver volunteers are trained men, women, young adults and youth who give non-medical support to the homebound.

"We call it neighbors helping neighbors," said Whiteman, who termed the health fair a success.

"The bonus of this health fair is that we connected people with resources that they might not otherwise have known about," added Phyllis P. Stemmle, coordinator of the Alzheimer's Respite Program, a community wide resource for education and information about Alzheimer's.

The respite program helps ease the burden for the family member caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease. The programs can be reached at 145 Anchor Avenue, Beachwood. Call Caregivers at 732-505-2273 and respite care at 732-505-0031.

A caregivers support group sponsored by Kimball Medical Center and Ocean County Office of Senior Services is open to anyone who is caring for a person living in Ocean County over age 60, said Caryl Russo of the Saint Barnabus Health Care System. Meetings are held on Tuesdays from 12:45 to 2:15 p.m. To register, call 1-888-SBHS-123.

Alzheimer's disease is a brain disorder first reported by Dr. Alois Alzheimer, in 1906, following an autopsy on a mental patient that showed abnormal deposits in and around brain cells and dramatic shrinkage of the brain's cortex, the outer layer involved in memory, thinking, judgment and speech. It was entered into medical literature in 1907, and named after Alzheimer in 1910.