We are always on a quest to find and eliminate risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s. Since no absolute cure has been found, it’s really important to do everything we can to help prevent these neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, results of a study delved into whether or not even minimal exercise helps prevent dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
Over 60,000 seniors in South Korea participated in the study over nearly four years to see how all levels of exercise and physical activity impact the risk of getting dementia. The researchers accounted for other risk factors to isolate physical activity as a key factor in the study.
Because this study was so large, it gives some quite significant findings about how much exercise might help prevent dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Levels of Exercise
The researchers of this study broke physical activity down to three levels of exercise.
- Vigorous-Intensity physical activity (VPA)
- Moderate-Intensity physical activity (MPA)
- Light-Intensity physical activity (LPA)
Vigorous activities are activities like running and bicycling that causes severe shortness of breath. Moderate activities equate to brisk walking or leisurely bicycling. And light-intensive activity is walking at a slow or leisurely pace.
Current guidelines for physical activity for older adults recommend at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. Or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week.
These researchers wanted to see what effect different levels of activity has on the risk of developing dementia. But they were especially interested to see what effect LPA has on it.
At the end of the study, 6% of the participants had developed dementia.
As you might guess, those people who are highly active had a reduced risk of developing dementia by 28%. Wow! The people doing light-intensity exercise, like 10 minutes twice a week, had a 10% reduced risk of developing dementia. Still surprising.
It didn’t matter what their gender, age, or other health concerns were (all the participants were over age 65). The results were the same for everyone in the group. And it all stemmed from their activity level.
Suggested: Best Exercises for Brain Health After 50
From these results, it is quite clear that increasing our activity level is a crucial step in preventing dementia and AD. For those who aren’t physically able to jog or ride a bicycle, it’s nice to know that simply walking a few times a week can help. So instead of sitting, watching TV, maybe do some stretching or try some yoga.
Of course, if you are able, exercising as much as you can makes all the difference to lower your dementia risk dramatically. Don’t wait until you are older, start as soon as possible.
Thank you for reading today. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the Comments section below. Thank you!