You don’t need to work out like an Olympic athlete to reap the health benefits. In fact, new research suggests that even moderate exercise may decrease the risk of dementia.
Couch potatoes have a higher risk of developing dementia in old age, a new study reports.
Seniors who get little to no exercise have a 50 percent greater risk of dementia compared with those who regularly take part in moderate or heavy amounts of physical activity, the researchers found.
Moderate physical activity can include walking briskly, bicycling slower than 10 miles an hour, ballroom dancing or gardening, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to a story in Health24.com, “Brain scans of participants showed that those who exercise are better able to withstand the effects of ageing on the brain, the study authors said. With age, the brain tends to shrink. But people who regularly exercised tended to have larger brain volumes than those who were sedentary.”
Researchers claim study participants aged 75 or older gained the most protective benefit from exercise against the onset of dementia. WebMD quoted senior researcher Zaldy Tan as saying:
“It doesn’t require intensive physical activity to decrease risk of dementia. Even moderate amounts are fine. The message here is that you’re never too old to exercise and gain benefit from it. These patients derive the most benefit from exercise because they are the ones who are at the age of greatest risk for dementia.”
Another recent study pointed out that a lack of exercise leads to a significant decrease in blood flow to several brain regions important for cognitive health – even of you only stop exercising for as little as 10 days!
Again, even moderate exercise can make a difference. In case you are wondering how to determine what ‘moderate’ exercise is – the American Heart Association describes it as “physical activity (which) is usually 11-14 on a scale of 1 to 20.”
So dust off those walkin’ shoes or grab your gardening gloves and get started! Every little bit matters for your body and your brain. And the healthier we all are, the sooner we can reach our goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!