What role does physical activity have in optimizing brain health and function?
There is strong evidence for exercise as a protective factor for dementia. This should include
reaching the Canadian Physical Activity / World Health Organization Guidelines including
strength training, balance exercises and aerobic activity.
Exercise induces neurogenesis, addresses cardiovascular risk factors, decreases depression
and anxiety and is associated with larger brain regions such as the hippocampus.
There is a brain health food guide that uses evidence from multiple diets. This is most similar to
the Mediterranean diet and should be implemented as early in life as possible.
Exercise can help increase cognitive reserve, delaying progression from mild cognitive
impairment to dementia. Always remember to match the exercise prescription to what the
Don’t forget to screen for sensory loss (hearing and vision) as part of dementia management.
Listen to this episode to learn how to optimize modifiable risk factors, including exercise, that
can outweigh non-modifiable risk factors related to dementia!
Guest: Dr. Nicole Anderson - https://www.baycrest.org/Baycrest/Research-
The 2020 Lancet Commission on dementia, prevention, intervention, and care
Brain Health Food Guide
BJSM: Physical activity as a protective factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease