Gym owners are observing older and older members attending their gyms. These people are not motivated by traditional narcissism but by better health and also mental health. Probably one of the most feared ailments is that of losing mental acuity as one ages, which leads to loss of independence and richness of life. Luckily, there are proactive steps one can take to avert the onset of dementia: simple cardio exercise. Recent studies out of Italy have verified that in people age 65 and older, simply walking regularly or engaging in other moderate exercise can reduce dementia risk.


 


Members don't have to pound away on the treadmill, a simple rhythmic movement such as walking on a treadmill or an elliptical can provide much protective benefit against vascular dementia, the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease.

This four-year study included 749 women and men over age 65 who had no memory problems at the start of the study. Researchers monitored the participants' weekly physical activity levels, such as walking and climbing stairs, and moderate activities, such as house and yard work, gardening and light carpentry.

By the end of the study, 54 of the participants had developed Alzheimer's disease and 27 had developed vascular dementia.


 


The top one-third of people who exerted the most energy walking were 27% less likely to develop vascular dementia than those in the bottom third, the study found. People who exerted the most energy in moderate activities were 29% less likely to develop vascular dementia, and those who were in the top one-third for total physical activity had a 24% reduced risk compared to those in the bottom third.


 


The findings are published in the December 19 issue of the journal Neurology, whose mission is to provide neurologists with outstanding peer-reviewed articles, editorials and reviews to enhance patient care, education, clinical research and professionalism. For more information, please visit www.neurology.org.

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