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April 19, 2018 • Healthy Living

Fitness and Dementia Risk

An elderly woman sitting at a table in a depressed state.

If you are middle-aged and want to slash your risk of dementia, get moving! In a new study that echoes what others before it have trumpeted, fitness at midlife was tied to a dramatic reduction in the risk of developing age-related dementia.
For this study, 191 women with an average age of 50 had their fitness levels carefully measured in a laboratory setting. Based on the results, they were placed in one of three categories: high, medium, or low fitness. Over the next 44 years, women had their cognitive function regularly evaluated about every 7 years. Women who scored in the high fitness category at age 50 were 88 percent less likely to develop dementia in their later years relative to women in the low fitness category. That is beyond impressive!
Although this type of study cannot prove cause and effect, it is in line with a compelling body of data that suggests fitness at midlife is paramount for later brain health.
Neurology, 2018; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000005290

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