According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in the United States …
Every 67 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death.
Approximately 500,000 people die each year because of this disease.
In 2013, 15.5 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $220 billion.
Even with the remarkable progress in Alzheimer’s treatments over the past decade, there is still no cure for this horrible neurodegenerative disease.
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The best we can do right now is take as many preventive measures as possible.
Which is why today’s news marks one of the biggest breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research to date.
In a landmark study done by Oxford University, researchers have found that using a sauna four to seven times per week can reduce Alzheimer’s risk by 65%, after adjusting for diet/lifestyle.
Now, the research team can’t explain yet exactly WHY or HOW this is happening …
But it adds to the mounting evidence that saunas have incredibly powerful health benefits.
Last year, I wrote about how a half-hour of sauna time offers similar benefits to exercise for the body.
Researchers in Finland studied the effect of saunas on more than 2,300 men over a 20-year period. They found that men who used saunas four to seven times per week lived longer than men who only used saunas once a week.
The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, also found that frequent sauna users had:
A 63% lower risk of sudden cardiac death
A 50% lower risk of cardiovascular disease
A 40% overall lower death rate
You see, performing aerobic exercise raises your body’s core temperature. This induces strain on the body, decreases endurance and accelerates exhaustion.
By itself, you don’t want your body’s temperature to be higher than normal for an extended period of time like when you have a fever.
But during exercise, when your body’s core temperature is raised, the body goes through a natural process called hyperthermic conditioning, or heat adaptation.
Basically, the body is in an abnormal state and will make any changes necessary to survive at this new temperature.
This process optimizes your body for the next time you exercise (and raise your body temperature). So, the body is put through less metabolic stress.
Generally, the more exercise you perform means the better heat-adapted you are.
As the body adapts to functioning at a higher temperature, it makes several changes that can have many lasting benefits — even when the body returns to normal temperature …
Research now shows that sauna use causes the body to go through this same heat adaptation.
It causes the body to go through these same physiological adaptions that benefit the body longer term.
Essentially, 30 minutes of relaxing sauna time may have the same cardiovascular and metabolic effects of intense aerobic exercise.
Which can begin to explain this new finding on the relationship between sauna use and Alzheimer’s risk.
That’s because exercise increases the number of small blood vessels that supply blood to the brain. It also boosts the number of connections between nerve cells.
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Exercise has been shown to raise the level of a nerve growth factor (a protein that’s key to brain health) in an area of the brain that is important to memory and learning.
New studies have illustrated how exercise can stimulate the human brain’s ability to maintain old network connections and make new ones that are vital to healthy cognition.
In a year-long study, 65 older people exercised daily — doing either an aerobic exercise program of walking for 40 minutes, or a nonaerobic program of stretching and toning exercises.
By the end of the study, the walking group showed improved connectivity in the part of the brain engaged in daydreaming, envisioning the future, and recalling the past.
The walking group also improved on executive function. That is, the ability to plan and organize tasks such as cooking a meal.
Related story: Leg Strength: The Key to Longevity
Again, these new findings only add to the mounting evidence of the powerful health benefits of sauna use. And I believe it’s going to be one of the most important fields of study in the coming decade.
Do you currently use a sauna? Or do you now have any intentions to? If so, please leave use a comment in the comment section below.
Happy and Healthy Investing,
Uncommon Wisdom Daily