How to Cut Your Risk of Dementia in Half

Dear Living Well Daily Reader,

You may already know that eating right, taking care of your heart and supplementing with certain vitamins and nutrients like B12 and curcumin are great ways to keep your mind sharp and stave off the devastating effects of dementia.

However, there is another component that’s just as important as diet and supplementation.

In fact, this one easy solution can slash your risk of dementia by 50 percent. 

But the good news doesn’t stop there — this common practice can even increase the size of your brain.

Plus, it only takes minutes out of your day to do.

This one simple thing can thwart the dangers of cognitive decline and help you keep a healthy, active brain well into your golden years.

So what is this magic bullet?

It’s not a dangerous prescription drug…

Or even a superfood…

No, it’s one thing that every health care professional tells you to get more of — exercise.

But don’t worry. New research shows that you don’t have to be a marathon runner or Olympic gold medalist to reap the brain benefits of movement.

--Walk Away From Dementia 

Research from the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program at the University of California, Los Angeles shows that folks who regularly participate in moderate exercise can decrease their chances of dementia by 50 percent when compared with those who get little to no exercise.

The study included about 3,700 participants age 60 or older, and tracked their exercise frequency over the course of a decade. During the study, 236 of the participants developed dementia.

To analyze the effects physical activity has on the risk of developing dementia, the scientists sorted the participants into five different groups that ranged from sedentary to highly active.

And what they found was shocking!

Those who were the most sedentary were 50 percent more likely to be diagnosed with dementia than any other group. 

Put another way, even just a bit of exercise helped fight the development of dementia.

Through brain scans, the researchers also found that the participants who exercised more had larger brains than those who didn’t. As the brain shrinks with age, it’s beneficial to have a more voluminous brain. It may better withstand the cognitive threats of aging.

--More Health at a Moderate Pace 

In addition, participants who were 75 years or older experienced the most protective effects of exercise against dementia. Dr. Zaldy Tan, a researcher in the study and medical director at UCLA’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program, reports:

It doesn’t take a lot of exercise to stave off the risk of dementia. Even moderate amounts are fine. The message here is that you’re never too old to exercise and gain benefit from it. These patients derive the most benefit from exercise because they are the ones who are at the age of greatest risk for dementia.

So what counts as moderate exercise?

According to the study, folks who worked up a light sweat at least two hours a week through any activity saw a reduction in their risk of developing dementia. Forms of moderate physical activity include walking, bicycling, gardening and ballroom dancing.

But increasing your exercise level can be as simple as doing a few more daily chores or taking one more trip to the mailbox. Start where you are, and increase your exercise gradually. If you walk an average of 1,000 steps a day, first challenge yourself to take 1,200, and then continue to increase your steps over time.

Live well,

Natalie Moore
Managing editor, Living Well Daily


Sources

[1] Physical Activity, Brain Volume, and Dementia Risk: The Framingham Study

[2] Exercise Lowers Risk of Dementia, Improves Memory

[3] Even a Little Exercise May Help Stave Off Dementia

Natalie Moore

Written By Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.

View More Free Articles

The Hidden Heart Danger LURKING in Your Gut?

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is no walk in the park. The cramping, the urgency, the endless trips to the bathroom—it’s a daily struggle that can leave you exhausted and frustrated. And here’s the kicker: sometimes, IBD’s vague symptoms can lead to misdiagnosis or even NO diagnosis at all....

Read This

Has the Key to Unlocking Better MS Treatments Been Found?

Dear Living Well Daily Reader, Imagine waking up one morning and feeling a strange tingling in your fingers. You brush it off, thinking it’s just a pinched nerve. But then, your vision starts to blur, and your balance is thrown off. Suddenly, you’re faced with a terrifying reality: you have multiple sclerosis (MS). For the...

Read This

6 Secret Ways to Spot HIDDEN Processed Foods

“Avoid eating processed foods,”—If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. The reason why is simple. These Frankenfoods are designed to satisfy your taste buds. But they leave your body full of foreign chemicals that can cause harm and in need of more nutrients. But a patient asked me the other day,...

Read This

8 Red Flags There’s a Heart Attack in YOUR Future

Humor me and count to 40. Done? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the United States just had a heart attack. That adds up to around 805,000 people a year. Many of those were a “silent” heart attack, with the victim having no clue it even happened—and they go...

Read This

Mailbag! Neuropathy Pain? Ease Tingling in Hands and Feet

“I’m diabetic and have burning, tingling pain in my feet. My doctor says it is peripheral neuropathy, and there aren’t any cures. But do you have any tips to help me deal with it?” —Hank Hi Hank, Uncontrolled blood sugar can trigger nerve pain called peripheral neuropathy. This condition causes pain and numbness, usually in...

Read This

5 Often Overlooked Diabetes Red Flags

Some of the worst diseases we face are also the stealthiest. They silently sneak up with few signs that they’re harming us from the inside. Well, that is until it’s too late, and they’re well-established. Osteoporosis and hypertension are on that list. And so is type 2 diabetes. In fact, scientists estimate that around 25...

Read This

ALERT: CGMs Can Give Inaccurate Glucose Readings

Keeping your blood sugar in check is critical for a longer, healthier life. It used to be if you wanted to watch your blood sugar for hours at a time, you’d have to go to a lab and be hooked up to an expensive, complicated machine. But now, anyone can get a continuous glucose monitor...

Read This

“Eat the Rainbow” Trick Drives Down Cancer Risk

If I were to ask you, “What’s the color of good health?” what would you say? Maybe it’s green or blue, the “colors of nature.” Or rosy pink cheeks may come to mind. Well, it turns out the “colors of the rainbow” might be the best answer. Research suggests the key to a long, healthy...

Read This

Unexpected Danger LURKS in Your Drinking Glass

I’ve said it so often I’m in danger of sounding like a broken record. (For those folks old enough to remember them.) But this habit is such a threat to your health it’s STILL worth the risk. One of the WORST things you can swallow is sweetened beverages—made with natural and fake sugars. They’ve already...

Read This

Are Fitness Watches WORTH the Expense?

I wear a fitness tracker. A patient pointed to it the other day and asked me if it was worth the expense. It caught me off guard at first. But then I explained, “It depends…” I personally enjoy wearing a fitness tracker because I like tracking my exercise. And it helps keep me motivated. These...

Read This