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Exercise as a Preventive or Disease-Modifying Treatment for Dementia Brain Aging (nih.gov)
140 points by todd8 135 days ago | hide | past | web | 72 comments | favorite



I've started exercising seriously last September. I've been waking up at 5am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday since then and never felt better. I'm 31. I was always super skinny, but that's no longer the case now.

I've gained 25lbs since then by following the 5x5 workout routine. I highly recommend it. There are good apps for the 5x5 workout routine in the app stores too. https://stronglifts.com/5x5/

Go to the gym three times a week for 1 hour and follow the 5x5 routine. You're always sore, but after a while you get used to it. Now I enjoy it a lot. Find a buddy to go to the gym with; that helps a lot.


I've found lifting heavy, and often, to be difficult to stick to while holding down a career. Specifically because of this:

> You're always sore, but after a while you get used to it.

Being incredibly sore makes it VERY hard for me to get going in the morning (something I already struggle with). It sounds like you might naturally be a morning person if you're exercising at 5am, so maybe this isn't an issue for you. I find I'm running a lot more these days. I've lost weight as a result, but, at least I'm functional at work.


Maybe YMMV -- I'm not going to pretend I'm a professional nutritionist even though I am a certified personal trainer: but if you're consistently sore past the first 2-3 weeks of working out, then you may not be eating enough.

Now, first, we have to distinguish between static soreness and DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness). Static soreness means you feel pain while sitting still. DOMS means you feel pain when you move. Which one is it?

DOMS means you're working out in your acceptable range. Static soreness means you're exceeding your capabilities and you need to scale things back a little bit until you hit DOMS.

Listen, with that said, if you're experiencing consistent DOMS throughout the day so much so that it's interfering with your work, then you may not be eating enough! Eat more to recover quicker. You'll feel less sore and you'll be functional sooner.

For context, I have a heavy 6-day split routine (ping ponging between 2 weeks of 10-8-8 reps for strength and 2 weeks of 10-8-40-20 for endurance) that means I'm in the gym for 2 hours almost everyday of the week. On top of this I run 15-25 miles per week -- as if I'm training for a 5K -- to work on my cardio. So I do a lot, and I eat a lot too: 3,300 - 3,600 calories a day.

Through all of this, I experience minimal soreness maybe for 1-2 hours after a workout. Otherwise, I'm able to carry on my day normally.

Stats

-----

6'1"; 183lb

Bench (1RM): 225lb

Squat (1RM): 294lb

Deadlift (1RM): 300lb

Obvious room for improvement. I'm just getting back into my routine after 6 months off.


I'd add in some post workout carbs (50g) and protein (25g) and even suggest some BCAA in water during workout will all help with the DOMS. That and stretching.


Indeed, you are correct, I agree.


I was in the same wagon, but note that being sore is not the problem. Heavy lifting is very taxing to the central nervous system and this is what causes the systemic fatigue that won't let you be productive at work. A couple of recommendations that worked for me (46 years old)

1. Lower the intensity. There are a tons of ways to do this, but the simplest would be doing heavy lifting only in the first core lift of the day (squat, deadlift, bench or press). Then, increase the volume (lower the weights, increase the reps) for the rest of the exercises.

2. Periodize your workout plan. This is a science in itself, but the general idea is to adjust the intensity and volume over a period of 4-8 weeks, including a deload week every now and then.

3. Ditch the deadlift. At least for me, deadlift is too taxing.

Hope this helps.


Deadlifts and Squats are the two that REALLY make the next couple of days a challenge. And I agree that it's likely not just the fact that the muscles are sore, because, the feeling is systemic. My entire mind and body entity are functioning on a lower level (recovering) in the days following intense Deadlifts or Squats, and to a lesser degree other lifts. I already struggle a TON with "getting going" in the morning, sometimes not reaching peak mental capacity until the early after noon. Lifting only delays this further.

I've talked with "professional" body builders (not IFBB level but people who do it for a living) and most of them say they suffer from very little if any soreness / mental fatigue. It has led me to believe, as crushing to my ego as it is, that I just don't have the same recovery capability as these guys, nor the same potential for growth.

I've gone so far as to get my labs checked, just to be sure I didn't have some obvious problem. Tests all came back normal.

As such, gaining muscle seems out or reach as it requires an intense regimen, and tons of food. When that starts to take away from my work, I gotta do something else. Hence, running :(


People making a living from bodybuilding are (mostly) taking steroids. That helps recovery quite a bit.


Your comment seems rather strange to me, because my mood and alertness both improved noticeably when I started lifting weights last summer.


I know what they mean. It's sort of a calm, hazy feeling for me, but I'm probably more productive in that phase anyway.


My first month of lifting I was sore for days after every single workout. Now I don't get sore at all, even when I PR squats and deadlifts.

Eat a lot and well, and your body will adapt.


There's no shame in deadlifting light.


I've been doing 5x5 consistently for about 1.5 years (until I achieved my target goals, then I scaled back), without being a morning person. The soreness essentially disappears after the first month and the biggest challenge was actually eating enough calories not to negate the progress.

Instead of exercising in the morning I did it after work, ~7pm. A cup of coffee and an energy bar made you good to go.

Slight difficulties falling asleep sometimes, but other than that, a massive increase in overall health and energy levels, despite having a respiratory condition.


You know, maybe I just haven't stuck to a 100% consistent routine long enough. By week 3, I tend to have reached a "fuck this" mentality. I hold my productivity at work to be more-or-less sacred, as that's what puts food on the table. Anything that messes with that, even in the short term, tends to get quickly removed (if possible).

Maybe I should give a month a try though, if for no other reason, than to see if the soreness and mental fatigue goes away.


Halve the intensity for the next 6 months - you are probably just very unfit.

Or alternatively you are under a lot of stress - again cut back on the intensity and volume.


Anecdotal to me of course, but I felt much better after I started getting adequate protein. I am still sore if I go really hard in the gym, but most days I feel very good after lifting if I take enough whey protein. Previously to my extra protein consumption I felt like I was recovering from the flu for a couple days after I had worked out.


That might be worth giving a try. I've always just tried to eat whole foods (and lots of them) but never noticed much of a difference between eating just enough, and eating a TON. Always would feel sapped of energy for the next day(s).


I do a heavy full-body routine once a week, and then typically low weight and body weight exercises twice a week mixed into sprinting sessions. Eating a lot is definitely crucial. I force myself to eat as much as possible the first 36 hours after a heavier lifting session. I typically just take a walk and stretch the day after, and then the next day I sprint (waiting too long to return to exercising again can also increase soreness for me after lifting).

For anyone interested in lifting, it doesn't need to be as complicated as people make it. I do cleans, squats, deadlift, bench, rows, overhead press, and a few curls occasionally. Those alone will strengthen your entire body, and add in some sprinting, jumping, spring lunges, push-ups and pull-ups, and other plyometric / body-weight training and you'll quickly lose weight and become more athletic.


I began doing that around February this year, and really nailed it as part of my routine since two months ago.

I wake up at 6 AM. Have breakfast, meditate for about 10 min, and go swimming on Tue/Thu, or to lift some weights on Mon/Wed/Fri.

As you say, I haven't felt better. It took a lot of trial and error to get this routine working for me, but it's paying off. My immune system is working like a charm and haven't been under the weather even with people around me getting the flu.

Next step is to reduce my waist.. lot of visceral fat. Just yesterday I bought one of those scales to measure it, which I'll receive next week.

I think tracking progress helps a lot. I got one of those apps that build habits and put this along with others. It really helped me be conscious about the goal of being healthy long term.


Those scales to measure visceral fat are scams. You need calipers and measuring tape to get an accurate measurement of your body fat.


Good to know. However, I'll use it as a relative measure. Whatever number it gives me, I'll work on improving it.


Oh man, I'm in the same boat right now, working on changing that. "Pencil neck" teenager, now a flabby-tabby. Starting at 20% over ideal thanks to fork-to-mouth habits and a medication which increases hunger.

Got a fitbit and a bicycle, riding a 1-2 hours a day.

Using the free Bikemap app on iOS https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bikemap-map-your-bike-route-...

Just have to stay heart-rate/exertion-limited due to Marfan syndrome.

With age, it's good to increase care for rotator cuff, trapezius and shoulder muscles/ligaments unless one enjoys expensive/painful surgery to reattach separations.


I do a variation of 5x5! It's awesome, and their iPhone app is great for tracking progress.


Highly recommend stronglifts as well + the book: burn the fat, feed the muscle ( content is really good, the website of Tom Venuto is awfull though)


Anaerobic exercise is probably good for you too, but for what it's worth, the article was talking about specifically aerobic exercise.


Exercising is a "no brainer" preventative treatment. Increased cardiovascular activity provides more and faster oxygen and nutrient flow to the brain which helps the brain to build more neurons.

Another important approach is to build up your cognitive reserve[1]. Evidence exists that people who read more, socially interact more, play music, dance, and stay physically active can delay the onset of dementia by years.

Eating right (minimize processed foods and sugars, focus on raw foods, vegetables, fruit, minimal chemicals) is also associated with better memory.

Finally, getting a full 8 hours of sleep is associated with good brain health. The brain appears to require about 7-8 hours to fully process the day's knowledge and build it into long term memory structures. If you cheat yourself and get 4-6 hours, most likely your brain simply won't have a chance to build those neural structures to capture long term memories.

Probably the type of people who read Hacker News are doing a lot of this stuff already; just working in a technical field that forces you to think all day is very helpful. Exercise and diet are probably the areas that techies notoriously neglect, but that's perhaps more a previous generation than the more health-conscious folks of today's workplace.

[1]https://www.amazon.com/Harvard-Medical-School-Achieving-Opti...


I just noticed you mentioned building more neurons - I thought I'd rea somewhere that the number of neurons was fixed at some point in teenagehood, and didn't increase beyond that?

Or am I misunderstanding that point?

(It would be pretty good if we could grow/regrow them).


It's generally accepted today that neurogenesis does occur in the adult brain.

That said, probably the main activity in the adult brain is developing interconnections between existing neurons, which requires generation of new dendrites and axons and whatever other structures.


I started running last fall, but it's boring as hell so in the spring I picked up skateboarding (at 40). It's the steepest and most rewarding learning curve I've been on for a long time. The downside is that all I can think about at work is what I'm going to do when my rickety old body has repaired itself well enough to skateboard again. I'm pretty sure that's a good indicator I'm stimulating parts of my brain that haven't been challenged in a good long time.


Exercise is good for nearly everything. We evolved to be active, not to be sedentary. The more you can move, the better.


Hopefully we evolve to be sedentary here pretty quickly.


I don't think that would work very well. The problem is the bad health effects of inactivity usually don't really kick in and effect morbidity until after the reproductive years.


Give it another million years or so, assuming humans last that long.


What does that even mean? Its not like evolution did some magics that we become better with exercise. Our bodies are trained by actual physical exertions, which are not possible if one is sedentary.


Humans generally are more valued for doing desk jobs vs physical jobs today. You can survive doing physical labor, but it will be a low paid job. The jobs where you sit behind a desk and your only exercise is pushing a keyboard/mouse are much higher paying, and more stable. As such it is an evolutionary advantage to sedentary today: you are more likely to be able to afford food, and since you are not active you need less of it.

The above might sound good, it won't work that way. Exercise hard or be a couch potato - either way your DNA is not a dead end. Either way you get enough food for your and your kids. You will have more luxuries from the sedentary life, but those are not things evolution cares about.

There are other shortcuts. Bio engineering is promising. There are lots of other advances in medicine. Any of them could solve the problems of sedentary life in the future. Or maybe not, we don't know what the limits of each is.


Only a few humans can get rich with physical jobs, e.g. Stef Curry with his $200 million, 5 year contract.


The more you can move, the better.

I've done a 24 hr foot race, a 12 hr race and a 100 mi race in the past year. There are diminishing returns. :-)

(Somewhere around 100K I think you reach maximal discomfort, though maybe I just haven't pushed through to that next level of suffering yet.)


My Uncle has Alzheimer's and this makes me feel even better about my exercise goals now. I lost around 40 pounds and I'm shooing for another 40-50 ish.


Wait until they discover fasting..


I didn't really believe the hype until I tried it myself this year. My primary focus had been just lifting heavy and doing regular cardio, but with diet as a secondary factor (lift big, eat big mindset).

Fasting really opened my eyes to the complexity of human metabolism. Even a humble OMAD/IF (one meal a day/intermittent fasting) approach is apparently worthwhile, as it produced benefits I have never experienced during or after exercising.

The effects to me are mind-blowing, even without really modifying any other variables (I probably consume similar/more calories when doing OMAD/IF). My favorite change by far is the improvement to cognition. I feel like regular fasting is akin to what the drug from the movie "Limitless" would do if it were a real thing. The focus levels alone... Basically the hardest coffee buzz you can imagine, but with a tremendous sense of calm. BDNF is a hell of a thing.


It just makes me sleepy and unable to think straight at ~14-16hrs without food. Maybe it gets better after that but I don't really have a lot of days I can afford to be useless for the whole afternoon—I've gone 30+ hrs and it doesn't improve. I've been informed this is what happens when you aren't on a keto diet and try fasting, but I'd have a way easier/happier time going vegetarian than keto (I like almost none of the keto staples—meat, beans/lentils, eggs—except in combination with not keto things) so that's not happening.

I actually find not-eating fairly easy, so it'd be sweet if fasting didn't make me want to nap all the time and slow my brain down to 1/2 speed.


You need to deplete your glyogen stores first, which is harder if you aren't eating low-carb. Makes for a more difficult transition for your body to switch over into fat-burning mode when it isn't used to it. More sugar cravings, brain fog, etc. Usually the 3-day mark is the standard for when it gets easier if you aren't used to fasting.


I find carbs make me feel this way. Do you do carbs? I find the combo of low carb + IF gives me more energy and focus on days I don't eat.

Btw, my IF regime is 3 24-hour fasts a week. I usually do dinner to dinner (so skip breakfast/lunch).


"Wait until they discover fasting.."

Rediscover. Fasting is preserved as a commandment in all the major world religions.


So is murdering adulterers. We should probably do science instead of relying on traditions from illiterate desert dwellers from thousands of years ago.


>So is murdering adulterers.

Yes, and if someone spoke of "discovering" the concept of murdering adulterers, it would be appropriate to point out that this is not new.


> Fasting is preserved as a commandment in all the major world religions.

Fasting is not a “commandment” in Christianity, nor is it even an obligatory discipline in many major subgroups of Protestant Christianity.


At least in the Catholic Church it is obligatory on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. It is still recommended on Ember Days (four sets of three days around the time the seasons change), and on all days of Lent except Sundays.


I love being intensely active, but it’s not an everyday thing. I run, I surf, I hike, I bike as much as my lifestyle allows. I like intense exercise because it fits my personality, but that’s not to say it’s more healthy than other forms of exercise. I look like an awkward giraffe in yoga class, you might look like an elegant swan. Do what works best for you. I am active every day. I walk around, I stand. I talk. I MOVE! If you can’t get 10,000 steps or 30 min of active time each day without an intense workout, I would suggest re-thinking your health beliefs.


I lift heavy so that 90-year-old-me doesn't fall down. Turns out I run so that 90-year-old-me doesn't lose his marbles also.


I never was into sports but after high school I went to the gym and did for about 20 years. I got out of the habit when I started shift work and never got back except some cycling in the summer.

I miss the feeling after I pushed myself the warm feeling and the total relaxation no aches no stress. I hated the feeling of missing the gym I could feel the tendons in the back of my knees and crooks of my arms (inner elbow?) ache.

The problem was I never made any progress I must be what is called a non-responder. If I tried to do more I got tired and took more time off. Often I found I did better after taking a three or four days off.

But any exercise is like medicine you're only there you only exercise because you have to. I want to be active but not a march forced by the fear of death I want to be there because it's fun.


Exercise. Fasting. Daily Aspirin. Daily Metformin.

Together should put you in a pretty good position.


Also, if you really hate fasting, indications are eating a moderate protein, high fat (isocaloric) ketogenic diet is almost as good without the discomfort. And if you do that you probably don't need the Metformin :)


Been doing IF this entire year (12pm-8pm feeding window). You definitely get used to being hungry in the mornings for a few hours.

This is anecdotal, but I've never felt better! I try to convert everyone :)


Also, there are lots of people that do IF AND keto :)


Daily Aspirin is very harsh on the stomach.


As for the internal bleeding risks.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006....

"These results translate into an absolute rate increase with aspirin above placebo (the incidence of cases of major GI bleeding attributable to low-dose aspirin) of 0.12% per year (95% CI: 0.070.19% per year).[20] Based on this value, 833 patients (95% CI: 5261429 patients) would need to be treated with low-dose aspirin instead of placebo to cause one major GI bleeding episode during a 1-year period (i.e. the NNH is 833)"


Not the low dose version. I've been taking them for 5+ years and never once had a problem with the stomach (that wasn't obviously something else).


Except the increased risk of heart attack and the damage to kidneys and bowels...


Huh? Taking low dose aspirin lowers the risk of heart attack. No indication of kidney issues[0]. Where are you getting your information??

[0] http://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/is-low-dose-aspir...


right, but if you are at a high risk for heart attack it is worth the risk.

Ask your doctor how the risk/reward plays out for you. Never take medical any other than ask your doctor from a message board.


Why Aspirin and Metformin?


Small (usually half of normal one) portions of aspirin and metformin are found to extend a lifespan. Although, I'd recommend to take aspirin everyday every second or third month, but that's my preference.


What do you mean by "take aspirin everyday every second or third month"?


As a counter-anecdote, my grandpa was a logger his whole life, and was physically active and still running a chainsaw well after he started getting Alzheimers.


>and still running a chainsaw well after he started getting Alzheimers.

No offense but that sounds a bit terrifying.


I just hope I don't hurt myself exercising while I'm relatively young in such a way that makes it hard to exercise when I'm old.


Don't let fear of injury stop you. If you get injured exercising, it's because your form is incorrect or you took on a lift your body wasn't ready for.


This maybe a little off-topic and an inappropriate forum to ask,but I am desperate for an answer.

I need advice to increase my Weight.

My Stats:

Height:5'6" Age:25 Weight:50Kg/110.231 Pounds

I wish to gain another 20Kgs.I am too skinny as of now.Really want to get fit.I have tried eating more than my usual food intake,but i suffer from indigestion whenever I do that.Looking for some helpful advice.


Your only option is to eat more and build muscle. Try one of the many weightlifting plans out there. Eat 6 tablespoons of high-quality peanut butter a day.


Ultimate frisbee (but you've gotta like to compete)


(2011)




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