ADVERTISEMENT

Physical activity to stave off Alzheimer's?,Leisure-time physical activity at midlife and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

06/15/2009 - Questions and Answers

Physical activity to stave off Alzheimer's?,Leisure-time physical activity at midlife and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

By: Novoviva webmaster

Tools:

Question

I know that I should keep my brain active to try to prevent Alzheimer's, but must I exercise my body too? I'm 50 and tend to be a bit overweight.

 

Answer

You're right about the protective effect of plenty of mental activity. However, that's not quite enough. You should, indeed, be working out to a modest degree at your age; this will help stave off Alzheimer's.
 

A recent study has examined this1. Swedish researchers selected at random 1,450 middle-aged volunteers and got them to complete health questionnaires and undergo a medical exam. Then they were re-examined some 12 to 24 years later. During the interval almost 200 of them had developed Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia (principally vascular dementia). The results showed that people who exercised at least twice a week during middle age cut their risk of dementia by over 50%, and their risk of Alzheimer's by more than 60%.
 

The importance of exercise in preventing Alzheimer's could still be demonstrated even when adjustments were made for other 'risk factors' for the condition: level of education, blood pressure, BMI, cholesterol, smoking, and alcohol use. The benefits of exercise were even more pronounced in people carrying the APOE4 gene (see link below) - they had only one third the risk of contracting the disease compared with those who didn't exercise.
 

So, get going. With a bit of ingenuity, you can exercise your brain and your body at the same time.
 

Footnotes
1. Leisure-time physical activity at midlife and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. S. Rovio, I. Kareholt, E-L. Helkala,  et al., Lancet Neurology, 2005, vol. 4, pp. 705--711

Related Links
Genetics and Alzheimer's
To Ward Off Alzheimer's - Exercise!

Created on: 11/21/2005
Reviewed on: 06/15/2009

No votes yet
Tools: