Sitting too much linked to dementia risk in older adults

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Recent research has shone a spotlight on the possible link between spending too much time sitting and an increased risk of developing dementia in people over 60.

This research is particularly relevant today, considering that the average American is inactive, sitting for around 9.5 hours a day.

Researchers published a study in a well-known medical journal, using information from a big health study in the UK. They closely studied about 50,000 people over the age of 60 who didn’t have dementia when the study began.

These people were asked to wear a special wrist device for a week, which tracked their movement or lack thereof.

The study revealed that people who sat for more than 10 hours a day had a significantly higher risk of developing dementia.

The study also showed that it didn’t matter how the sitting time was spread out throughout the day—it was the total sitting time that mattered. After six years, 414 of the participants were found to have developed dementia.

The Simplicity of Staying Active

The Link between Sitting and Dementia:

This study discovered a noticeable link between sitting for extended periods and the development of dementia in older adults.

Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example.

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. It’s a condition that affects many people and their loved ones, impacting memory, thinking, and behavior.

How Much Sitting is Too Much?

Interestingly, the study indicated that sitting up to 10 hours a day didn’t seem to increase the risk of dementia. However, sitting for more than 10 hours was where the risk seemed to significantly increase.

This means that for people who have jobs that require sitting for long periods, like office jobs, there’s no need to worry excessively as long as they try to stay active whenever possible.

The Importance of Being Active

Physical activity is crucial for maintaining good health, especially as we age. Regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight, strengthen muscles and bones, and improve mood and mental health.

Physical activity does not necessarily mean doing strenuous workouts; even small amounts of moderate-intensity activities, like walking or doing household chores, can make a big difference.

Why Should We Care?

The rising numbers of people diagnosed with dementia make this study especially critical. Many families are affected by this condition, and its impact on individuals and their loved ones can be profound.

Understanding the potential link between a sedentary lifestyle and dementia can help us make better lifestyle choices to possibly prevent or delay the onset of this condition.

Making Sense of It All

This research is part of a larger effort to understand how lifestyle choices, like sitting too much, can affect brain health.

Previous studies also looked at how different types of inactive behavior, like watching TV, could impact the risk of developing dementia.

In this latest study, the wrist devices gave researchers a more precise look at how people spend their day, helping to understand the relationship between inactivity and brain health better.

What Can We Do?

To ensure brain health and possibly prevent conditions like dementia, it is essential to maintain a balanced lifestyle that includes regular physical activity.

People, especially those in older age groups, should aim to reduce prolonged periods of inactivity and incorporate more movement into their daily routine. For instance, taking short, regular breaks to stand or walk around can be beneficial for those with desk jobs.


The realization that prolonged sitting might be connected to dementia emphasizes the need for lifestyle adjustments, particularly in our increasingly inactive world.

A comprehensive approach to maintaining an active lifestyle could potentially prevent the progression and onset of dementia in older individuals.

More in-depth studies are needed to further understand this relationship and develop effective strategies and interventions to protect brain health.

This understanding can help pave the way for simple yet impactful lifestyle modifications, contributing to improved overall health and well-being for aging populations.

By staying active, even in small amounts, we can all make strides towards a healthier future, reducing the risk of dementia and leading fuller, more vibrant lives.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about low choline intake linked to higher dementia risk, and how eating nuts can affect your cognitive ability.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that blueberry supplements may prevent cognitive decline, and results showing higher magnesium intake could help benefit brain health.

The research findings can be found in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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