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- A regular exercise routine in your 40s can cut your chances of developing dementia decades later, new research from the journal Neurology suggests.
- Women with low levels of physical activity reduced by 52 percent.
- Physical activity was more protective against vascular causes of dementia, while mental activity seemed to help ward off Alzheimer's disease.
For most people, the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease kicks in retirement age – after 65, your chances of developing these conditions
In fact, what you do with a few decades before your 60s could make a big difference, new research suggests. That 's why keeping physically and mentally active in middle age may be associated with a lower risk of developing dementia later, according to a study in the recent issue of Neurology.
In the study, researchers followed 800 Swedish women for 44 years, starting when they were, on average, 47 years old. The mental health and physical activity at the time.
The former category included reading, writing, artistic work, singing, and manual activities like needlework or gardening. As for physical efforts, the researchers have a lot of time and effort. The inactive group, comprising 17 percent of participants, to be mainly sedentary, while the active group, which the rest of the group is regularly logged in competitive sports.
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Over the course of 44 years, 194 women developed some form of dementia. Those who were physically active were 52 percent less likely to develop the condition.
In particular, the higher levels of mental health were associated with lower risk of vascular dementia.
The study’s lead author, Jenna Najar, M.D., from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, told Runner's World that they are not exactly sure what it is about exercise that helps promote cognitive health. However, they believe it may have helped them against the vascular forms of dementia.
The takeaway here, she added, is that the sooner you start with mental and physical exercise, better off when those retirement days — and beyond — roll around.