Daily physical activity reduces Alzheimer’s risk

It appears that daily physical activity may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. After monitoring some 700 elderly people, researchers found that the least active were nearly two and a half times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as the most active.

USA Today explains, “A higher level of physical activity – not just exercising – Is linked to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease even in people over 80,” according to a study published in the journal Neurology.

“Protective activities include washing dishes, cooking, cleaning, gardening – even playing cards. People who scored in the bottom 10% of physical activity were more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s.”

“Plenty of research has suggested that people who make a habit of exercising are less likely to get Alzheimer’s, though scientists aren’t sure how to explain the link,” the Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog notes.

“Other activities that have been correlated with a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s include engaging one’s brain in mentally stimulating activities, spending time in social groups and eating a healthful diet, according to the National Institute on Aging.”

Focusing on the study’s methodology, MedPage Today points out, “Highly active older adults in the 90th percentile on actigraphy were 2.3 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease during a mean 3.5 years of follow-up than their inactive peers in the 10th percentile.”

Specifically, “the analysis included up to 10 days of 24-hour actigraphy monitoring for 716 individuals without baseline dementia participating in the observational Rush Memory and Aging Project.”

Notably, “after adjustment for age, sex, and education, total daily physical activity was associated with incident Alzheimer’s, with a hazard ratio of 0.477 (95% CI 0.273 to 0.832).”

“Just how exercise may reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s is not known, but in general, what is good for the heart is believed to also be good for the brain,” WebMD reports.

“By 2030, it is estimated that the number of Americans older than 65 will double to 80 million,” HealthDay reports.

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2 Responses to Daily physical activity reduces Alzheimer’s risk

  1. Mike Keel says:

    What advice would you have for people suffering from MCI? Susan is dealing with this now.

  2. Mike, I assume you mean “Mild Cognitive Impairment.” If so, I’m sorry to hear this. But, know that you all are not alone on this journey! Here are some thoughts to consider: (1) Do give her a hug from us; (2) Be sure she has a great primary care physician and a consultation from a geriatrician or neurologist who understands MCI; (3) Take her to the leaders of your church for prayer and consultation (James 5:14); and, last but not least, (4) learn as much as you can about MCI from evidence-based, trustworthy sources. Here are a few I recommend: Mayo, the Alzheimer Organization, an article from the University of Vermont, and an NIH article. Blessings on the journey. May you be blessed and be a blessing as you love and serve her!

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