Taking physical exercise in later life may be better insurance against developing dementia than doing a crossword scientists say
It is believed that brain shrinkage may lead to problems with memory and thought processes – which are key signs of dementia.
Previous studies have been divided between whether regular exercise or keeping the brain active with mind activities is more beneficial in reducing the chances of developing dementia.
Several studies looking at the effect of aerobic exercise (exercise that increases your heart rate) in middle-aged or older adults have reported improvements in thinking and memory, and reduced rates of dementia.
Combining the results of 11 studies shows that regular exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing dementia by about 30 per cent. For Alzheimer’s disease specifically, the risk was reduced by 45 per cent.
In a study of 716 people with an average age of 82 years, people who were in the bottom 10 per cent in terms of amount of daily physical activity were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as those in the top 10 per cent.
Alan Gow from the University of Edinburgh claims he has found objective evidence that exercise is critical for brain health. He said,”people in their seventies who participate in more physical exercise including walking several times a week had less brain shrinkage and other signs of ageing in the brain than those who were less physically active.
“On the other hand, our study showed no real benefit to participate in mentally and socially stimulating activities on brain size, as seen on MRI scans over the three year time frame.”
Researchers examined 638 people from Scotland who were born in 1936 and have been involved in a long term study of ageing.
What does ‘physical activity’ mean?
In general research studies are referring to aerobic exercise performed for a sustained period of time, perhaps 20–30 minutes done several times a week and maintained. In other words 6 months exercising and then stopping is not going to be beneficial, it needs to become a lifestyle change.
Well, now aren’t I pleased that I go to SASFA fitness classes!
Go well till the next time