A new study published in Neurology has found that being physically and mentally active in middle age is linked to a lower risk of dementia when you get older.
The research was done by a team from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
Previously, scientists have found that …
In this study, the researchers examined 800 Swedish women with an average age of 47 who were followed for 44 years.
Participants were asked about their mental and physical activities during the study.
The mental activities include reading, playing instruments, singing in a choir, visiting concerts, gardening, doing needlework or attending religious services.
All of the participants got scores in each of the five areas based on how often they participated in mental activities, with a score of zero for no or low activity, one for moderate activity and two for high activity.
For mental activities, the researchers divided the participants into two groups: the low group, with 44% of participants, had scores of zero to two and the high group, with 56% of participants, had scores of three to 10.
The physical activities include light physical activity such as walking, gardening, bowling or biking for a minimum of four hours per week and regular intense exercise such as running or swimming several times a week or engaging in competitive sports.
The researchers divided the participants into two groups: active and inactive.
The active group ranged from light physical activity such as walking, gardening, bowling or biking for a minimum of four hours per week to regular intense exercise such as running or swimming several times a week or engaging in competitive sports.
A total of 17% of the participants were in the inactive group and 82% were in the active group.
They found women with a high level of mental activities were 46% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and 34% less likely to develop dementia than women with a low level of mental activities.
In addition, women who were physically active were 52% less likely to develop dementia with cerebrovascular disease and 56% less likely to develop mixed dementia than the women who were inactive.
The researchers suggest that these mental and physical activities in middle age may play a role in preventing dementia in old age and preserving cognitive health.
It is great news because these are activities that people can incorporate into their lives pretty easily and without a lot of expense.
One study author is Jenna Najar, MD, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
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