The benefits of a good workout can't be understated. From improved cardiovascular health to a reduced risk of obesity, there are countless reasons to lace up those running shoes and head out for some exercise. Unfortunately, there's nothing that could possibly—wait, what? You mean exercising regularly also dramatically reduces the risk of dementia? Um... I'm sorry. I can't. I have to go for a run immediately.

Exercising can not only boost fitness, but it can also protect the brain from dementia, according to new research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

You know that exercise is good for you. It can boost your fitness and helps prevent disease, which is why it's recommended that people get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. But what if we told you that exercise could protect your brain from dementia?

According to a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, exercising now can slash your risk of dementia later in life. Researchers looked at nearly 7,000 men between the ages of 65 and 79 who took part in an annual health survey between 1999 and 2010. During this time frame, 1,838 developed dementia while 2,040 didn't.* They found that those who were physically active had a 42 percent lower chance of developing dementia than those who weren't active at all—even after adjusting for factors like ethnicity or education level (meaning these results aren't just due to one group being more educated than another).

Those who exercised moderately had an 18 percent lower risk; those who did vigorous exercise had 20 percent lower risk; those who did high impact exercise had 28 percent lower risk; and so on down the line until finally even walking was linked with a 9 percent reduced likelihood of developing cognitive impairment during this period.* Not bad!

So how much do you need? Well it depends on what kind of activity you're doing—so don't worry too much about taking up running marathons unless they happen naturally anyway—but studies have shown that around 30 minutes per day will help reduce inflammation throughout your body.* That said: You don't have to start out with 30 minutes every day if it's not feasible right now—even just 15 minutes per day can help reduce inflammation levels enough so that this protection against chronic conditions like cancer grows stronger over time.* So what are you waiting for? Go get moving!

This is good news as one in six people over the age of 80 have dementia, a number that is growing as the population gets older.

Dementia is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It's caused by the death of brain cells, which are damaged when they cannot get oxygen or blood flow to support them properly (similar to how you'd starve yourself if you ran out of food). This makes it different from normal aging; though memory may worsen with age, dementia allows for an irreversible and progressive decline in mental ability—not just forgetfulness here and there but an overall loss of function that becomes increasingly severe over time until eventually no amount of exercise could help slow its progression (which means there could be hope for some type). If left untreated at this point it results in death within 10 years; however if caught early enough medication can halt its development altogether so long as it continues being taken regularly throughout life."

By doing moderate to strenuous exercise for three-and-a-half hours a week, dementia may be prevented, the researchers found.

The study, which was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found that people who exercised moderately or vigorously for three-and-a-half hours a week were more than half as likely to develop dementia as those who did little or no exercise.

"This is one of our largest studies to date and it confirms what other studies have suggested," lead researcher Dr Sarah Harris said in a statement.

"Our results indicate that doing physical activity on most days of the week reduces your risk of developing dementia by about 32 percent."

The researchers analysed health data from over 4,100 people living in Sydney over an 18 year period between 1993 and 2011. They monitored their exercise habits at the beginning of this period then monitored them annually for signs of memory decline or Alzheimer's disease until they died or moved out from Sydney. During follow up, 451 participants developed dementia (including Alzheimer's disease).

This amount is achievable through running for around 30 minutes five days a week or by working out at a high intensity for three 15-minute sessions over the course of a week.

Moderate exercise is any activity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat. For most people, this means 30 minutes of running or other aerobic activity five days a week.

Strenuous exercise is something that gets the blood pumping through your veins and oxygen pumping in your lungs. For most people, this means 15 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) three times per week: sprinting on a treadmill at an incline, doing burpees or jumping rope are great examples.

You should aim to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, but if you’re busy and don’t have time for more than one session per day then work out as much as you can in the morning before breakfast. The health benefits will still be felt throughout the rest of the day!

The research takes into account that this kind of routine is easier said than done; it also found that even small increases in activity could still lead to benefits.

If you're like most people, it's easier said than done to get out of your chair and get moving. A new study suggests that even small increases in activity can help stave off the dreaded disease.

In the research, published in JAMA Neurology, researchers used data from almost 8,000 adults over age 65 who had been followed for an average of seven years. For each decade since age 50, they were asked how often they performed moderate exercise—such as walking briskly (3 miles per hour) for 30 minutes five days a week—and vigorous exercise—such as jogging (5 miles per hour) for 20 minutes three times a week or running at top speed for 10 minutes at least once a week. They also filled out questionnaires about their mental health and cognitive function every two years during the follow-up period.

"It is never too late to start,"

said Professor David Batty of University College London, who worked on the study.

"Those who were inactive in midlife but became more active later on still had a lower risk of dementia than those who remained inactive throughout adulthood."

The study found that people who took up exercise after middle age gained some protection against cognitive decline and memory loss—even if they started exercising when they were already in their 70s.

The researchers followed more than 6,000 adults aged 50-76 for an average of 18 years during which time there was a significant increase in dementia diagnoses among participants diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at baseline (15 percent).


May 11, 2022

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