Why You Should Discuss Exercise and Weight Loss with Your Aging Patients

by Robard Corporation Staff February 14, 2017


In our recent blog post about 6 Unexpected Benefits of Exercise, we learned that not only can exercise help you lose weight and feel great, but it can also help improve memory and overall brain performance, and even help protect from cognitive decline. This insight is all the more important when talking to older adults about exercise and weight loss.

More than half of all 85-year-olds suffer some form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is a broad term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

Dementia has begun to be thought of as an inevitability of aging; however, recent research has shown that that is not necessarily true. Neuroscientist Art Kramer, who directs the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, says the best thing you can do for your brain is exercise.

In his 2010 study, Kramer found that with just 45 minutes, three days a week of moderate aerobic exercise (mostly walking), MRI scans showed that for the aerobic group, the volume of their brains actually increased, while individuals in the control group lost about 1.5 percent of their brain volume. This added up to a 3.5 percent difference between individuals who took part in aerobic exercise and those who did not. Further tests showed that increased brain volume translated into better memory.

For providers working with aging patients, the strong possibility of preventing or delaying the onset of dementia-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s can prove to be a great motivator in encouraging patients to engage in more regular exercise. Approaching them about their weight is a critical step in the right direction. By doing so, they’ll start to also feel the other great benefits of weight management and exercise, such as a potential decrease in related comorbid conditions, reliance on medications, and more.

To alleviate some of the potential discomfort in having conversations about weight with your patients, Robard Corporation has produced a three part video series, “How to Speak with Patients about Obesity,” that presents multiple avenues one could take while speaking with patients about obesity. We invite you to watch this free educational resource by clicking here.

We invite all healthcare providers to learn more about Robard’s proven weight management programs, products and services. To do so, please click here and try some of our delicious nutritional products for free!


Sources: NPR, Alzheimer’s Association


Blog written by Vanessa Ramalho/Robard Corporation


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Filed Under: Exercise | For Dieters | For Providers | Obesity | Treating Obesity | Weight Loss Programs

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