To Lower Your Dementia Risk, Rev Up Your Workouts

Health Minute     Spring 2019

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Many population studies have linked physical activity to better thinking and memory skills and a decreased risk of dementia. Adding to those findings is a Swedish study at the University of Gothenburg showing just how important it is to achieve a high level of fitness.

The study followed 191 women with an average age of 50 for more than 40 years. After compiling and analyzing all data, scientists concluded that women with higher fitness levels were 88 percent less likely to develop dementia than women with average fitness. The highly fit group also was able to delay onset of dementia by about 11 years — at age 90 rather than age 79.

Women in the study with lower fitness had a 41 percent higher risk of developing dementia than women with average fitness.

Frequent aerobic activity can increase blood flow to the brain and may also reverse risk factors for neurovascular disease like diabeteshypertension, and high cholesterol.

Poor circulation in the brain due to neurovascular disease is a leading cause of dementia, a condition that causes memory loss and thinking problems. Alzheimer’s disease is the other main type of dementia. Factors such as diet, genetics, and lifestyle also have an impact on who develops dementia.

Aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, swimming, and biking are recommended for cardiovascular benefits. Yoga and strength training can contribute to overall conditioning.

Increase Your Fitness Level

Women in the Swedish study were tested on stationary bikes, with the highest performers pedaling longer and harder.

Aerobic exercise such as brisk walking, swimming, and biking are recommended for cardiovascular benefits. Yoga and strength training can contribute to overall conditioning.

Check with your doctor before starting or significantly increasing a fitness program.

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.