Moderate-to-vigorous exercise and daily walks may reduce the risk of developing dementia in older women, according to a study published Jan. 25 by researchers at the University of California, San Diego.
A team from UCSD’s Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science found that every 31 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day was associated with the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia in women aged 65 and older. was found to decrease by 21%. Her risk decreased by 33% for every 1,865 steps she took each day.
“Given that the onset of dementia begins more than 20 years before symptoms appear, early intervention to slow or prevent cognitive decline and dementia in older adults is essential,” said Wertheim. School professor and senior author Andrea Lacroix said.
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Dementia is a debilitating neurological disease that can lead to loss of memory, thinking, problem-solving and reasoning. Mild cognitive impairment is early-stage memory loss or thought disorder that is less severe than dementia.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 5 million people in the United States have dementia, and that number is expected to double by 2050.
UCSD researchers say in a study published online, more women than men have dementia and are at higher risk of developing it. Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Physical activity has been identified as one of the most promising ways to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” said LaCroix. “Once dementia is diagnosed, it is very difficult to slow or reverse its progression, so prevention is key. There is no cure.”
Due to the lack of academic research on this issue, much of the published research on the link between physical activity and dementia is based on self-reported measurements, said lead author of the UCSD study, Ph.D. Researcher Steve Nguyen said. .
For this study, researchers collected data from 1,277 women who wore research-grade accelerometers and performed daily activities for up to seven days to obtain measurements of physical activity and sitting. I sampled.
According to the activity tracker, women took an average of 3,216 steps, spent 276 minutes of light physical activity, 45.5 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, and spent 10.5 hours sitting. Examples of light physical activity include housework, gardening, and walking. Moderate to strenuous activity may include brisk walking.
“Older adults can be encouraged to increase at least moderate-intensity physical activity and take more steps each day to reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia.” The step count findings are particularly noteworthy, as steps are recorded by a variety of wearable devices that are increasingly being worn by individuals and can be readily adopted.”
The authors say further studies in large and diverse populations, including men, are needed. ◆