You may have heard that you can prevent dementia with physical exercise. There are truths to this, but many of these claims also involve myths. While being appropriately active for a certain level of fitness in your life is always considered to be a good idea, it’s always wise to understand your goals.
Can You Prevent Dementia with Physical Exercise?
Among all the various types of lifestyle changes researchers have examined, being able to prevent dementia with physical exercise appears to be the most effective. Working on keeping up an appropriate fitness level may be able to reduce your risk of developing this condition and may help to slow its onset if it does happen.
A number of studies have taken a specific look at aerobic exercise – also known as cardio, or the type of workout that raises your heart and respiration rates – in middle aged and older adults. Many of them have shown that adults in these age groups who are regularly physically active see improved scores in memory and thinking and experience reduced dementia risk rates.
What Types of Workouts Should You Consider?
The type of workout you should try to prevent dementia with physical exercise depends on many things. After all, we all have our own physical fitness level. This can help to decide whether you should be heading out for a walk or a run, or whether you should consider going swimming or playing a team sport.
Several studies have tried to look at the prevention impact on dementia among people who regularly include physical exercise in their lives over time. Middle age has been an important target for researchers until now. When looking at the outcomes of 11 major studies, it looks as though regular cardio workouts can reduce dementia risk by around 30 percent. When targeting Alzheimer’s disease more specifically, the reduction was closer to 45 percent.
One important study was conducted in Wales, following more than 2,000 men for 35 years of their lives. Several behaviors were assessed, including moderate alcohol consumption, being non-smokers, maintaining a healthy body weight, keeping up a healthy diet overall, and exercising regularly.
Among all the factors examined, it was the physical exercise that had the biggest impact on being able to prevent dementia. On the whole, people who did well in four or five of the measured behaviors had a 60 percent lower risk rate of dementia development.