In an earlier post, we pointed to work showing that one’s aerobic fitness level inversely correlates with one’s overall mortality risk: The higher one’s fitness level, the lower one’s risk of dying. And in another post, we pointed at work demonstrating the relationship between cardiac health and dementia, again an inverse relationship: The more you improve your cardiac health, the more you lower your risk of dementia. So it certainly follows that exercising to improve your heart health will lower your risk of dementia. And studies show that this is the case. One in particular showed strikingly that higher fitness levels correlate strongly with lower risk of dementia:
Dementia study links your risk with your fitness level
Studies continue to show directly that performing physical exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dementia. Almost certainly, part of the benefit is due to the positive effect of exercise on your heart health, and that in turn improves blood flow to your brain, reducing your dementia risk.
The studies have ranged from intense 7-10 minute aerobic interval training to 30-minute walks. Clearly interval training will have more of an effect on your body than 30-minute walks. However, even those walks will have an effect, including the likely effect of reducing mental/emotional stress. And one very important point is to maintain a regular exercise program. If you start ambitiously and fall off to nothing, you haven’t done yourself much good.
For maintaining both mental and physical health and strength, it’s quite tempting to think that massive intense workouts are necessary, both physical and mental. However, regularity is easily as much or more important for both. We’ll explore this in future posts.
The new link above has been added to Health > Physical Exercise.