If you’re looking for ways to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, you may want to set down the crossword puzzles and pick up your sneakers. In a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), it was found that exercise can reduce the risk of mental decline to a greater extent than doing brain activities (i.e. crossword puzzles) and offers more benefits than some medications designed to improve cognitive function.
Researchers found that “moderate-intensity exercise improved memory in older adults who presented with prior cognitive impairment”. In fact, compared to customary care for memory problems, those who participated in 20 minutes of daily physical activity for six months had “better scores on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog), improved their delayed recall and scored lower on the clinical Dementia Rating than non-exercises”.
The study also found that when people exercise on a regular basis for 6 months they can maintain the cognitive benefits for up to a year after stopping the exercise. So get up now and start moving before you forget to do it!
Marino C. Remember to Exercise or Exercise to Remember. FitBits Exercise ETC’s Review of Exercise Related Research. September 15, 2008.
Lautenschlager, N.T., et al (2008) Effect of Physical Activity on Cognitive Function in Older Adults at Risk for Alzheimer Disease: A Randomized Trial. JAMA. 300(9):1027-1037.
Preidt, Robert. (2008) Exercise May Help Prevent Age-Related Memory Loss. Reuters. September 2.