Daily Exercise May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk at Any Age
Daily physical exercise may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), even in people over the age of 80, according to a study published online in Neurology.
“The study showed that not only exercise but also activities such as cooking, washing the dishes, and cleaning are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” says study author Aron S. Buchman, MD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “These results provide support for efforts to encourage physical activity in even very old people who might not be able to participate in formal exercise but can still benefit from a more active lifestyle.”
For the study, a group of 716 people with an average age of 82 continuously wore an actigraph, a device that monitors activity, on their nondominant wrist for 10 days. All exercise and nonexercise activities were recorded. They also were given annual tests during the four-year study that measured memory and thinking abilities. During the study, 71 people developed AD.
Participants also self-reported their physical and social activities. Buchman says this is the first study to use an objective measurement of physical activity in addition to self-reporting. “This is important because people may not be able to remember the details correctly,” he says.
The research found that people in the bottom 10% of daily physical activity were more than twice as likely to develop AD as people in the top 10% of daily activity.
The study also showed that those people in the bottom 10% of intensity of physical activity were almost three times as likely to develop AD as people in the top 10% of intensity of physical activity.“Since the actigraph was attached to the wrist, activities like cooking, washing the dishes, playing cards, and even moving a wheelchair with a person’s arms were associated with a lower Alzheimer’s risk,” says Michal Schnaider-Beeri, PhD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York in an accompanying editorial. “These are low-cost, easily accessible and side-effect free activities people can do at any age, including very old age, to possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease.”
Source: American Academy of Neurology