Mind your Body: Exercise as a Defense against Dementia

Research suggests that fitness may reduce your risk of dementia, according to an article published in Health Day.

Dr Lu and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Carolina conducted a study to determine whether fitness is associated with lower risk of dementia morality in men and women.

Participants for the present study were 14,811 women and 45,078 men, age 20- 88 years who has a baseline examination and clinical assessment at the Cooper clinic in Dallas during 1970-2011. The examination consisted of a self report questionnaire, measuring the participants Body Mass Index (BMI) and a treadmill exercise which resulted in the participants being grouped in a low, medium or high health range.

Mortality surveillance after an average of 17 years follow-up revealed that 4,050 participants had died since the baseline examination. Of those deaths 164 were attributed to dementia, with 123 originally being identified in the low health group, 23 in the middle fitness group and 18 in the high fitness group.

The research suggested that that people in the high and medium fitness groups had less then half the risk of dying from dementia as those in the low fitness group.

“These findings support physical- activity promotion campaigns by organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association and should encourage individuals to be physically active”, said Dr Lu to Health day. The findings of this study need to be explored further.

Participants that died of dementia may have already been living with early stages of dementia when first examined. This could have influenced the participant’s engagement in exercise and therefore their documented health range.

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