Regular Exercise May Cut Alzheimer’s Risk in Half

I have watched several family members succumb to Alzheimer’s, and I know that it’s a difficult disease to prevent. In 2006, over 26 million people worldwide suffered from the disease, and it’s been predicted that by 2050, 1 in 85 people will be affected by Alzheimer’s.

But now, it looks like there’s something else we can do to decrease the risk of dementia: work out.

Researchers have found that moderate to heavy exercise could cut the risk of Alzheimer’s in half. This information was found from the long-running Framingham Heart Study, which began in 1986. Over 1,000 people participated in the study; their physical activity was monitored from the beginning of the study, in 1986, through 2006.

The study’s results showed that 242 of the 1,200 participants were diagnosed with dementia, and 193 participants would develop Alzheimer’s later in life. Those who exercised regularly decreased their risk of developing dementia by 40%. Meanwhile, those who didn’t exercise or rarely exercised had a risk increase of 45% of contracting dementia.

Dr. Zaldy Tan of Brigham and Women’s Hospital stated, “This is the first study to follow a large group of individuals for this long a period of time. It suggests that lowering the risk for dementia may be one additional benefit of maintaining at least moderate physical activity, even into the eighth decade of life.”

A second study regarding Alzheimer’s linked the disease with lack of vitamin D. According to the government-funded study, vitamin D deficiently can increase the risk of developing dementia up to fourfold. But there are still studies going on to further study this connection, so don’t overdose on vitamin D just yet.

With a disease like Alzheimer’s, which has no truly effective treatment thus far, prevention is the only way we can try to protect ourselves from the disease and its effects. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be working out more!

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Regular Exercise May Cut Alzheimer’s Risk in Half — 26 Comments

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