We know that physical activity is beneficial to both the body and mind. It even appears that seniors who are more active may have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
We know that physical activity is beneficial to both the body and mind. It even appears that seniors who are more active have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s.
In order to reach these conclusions, researchers asked 716 seniors (average age 82) without cognitive impairment to wear a wrist device that measured their daily physical activity for about 10 days. Over the next four years, 71 of them were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The researchers found that those who were the least physically active were more than twice as likely to develop the disease as those who were the most active. The link was maintained even after taking into account the participants’ age, gender, education, vascular diseases, depression and frequency of social activities.
In its early stages, Alzheimer’s disease itself may lead to lower physical activity, but the researchers eliminated that possible explanation for the findings because the participants’ initial level of activity was not associated with previous cognitive decline. Physical activity is thought to offer some protection against cognitive decline, possibly because of its beneficial effects on blood vessels in the brain.
To reap those benefits, no need to run a marathon! Walking, gardening, housework and dancing are all examples of activities that count towards your daily exercise requirement. This small study adds extra weight to the guidelines that encourage people of all ages to keep moving, according to their abilities.