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Physical Activity Deters Alzheimer's: Reduce Risk with Movement

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According to a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers discovered the risk of dementia can be halved by engaging in physical activities like walking, dancing and gardening, which significantly improve brain volume in the hippocampus region and the frontal, temporal and parietal lobes. The scientists studied 876 participants for 30 years and completed a longitudinal memory test of the patients, which were 78 years old on average, and followed up with MRI brain scans. They recorded their physical activity and logged caloric output every week.

Two other studies found that any exercise that raises our heart rate and produces sweating for a sustained period will benefit cognitive health as we age. One meta-analysis of 36 studies from Australia’s University of Canberra found that exercise improved cognition by an average of 29 percent for those older than 50; another small group study from Germany’s Otto von Guericke University, in Magdeburg, specifically showed that dancing benefits seniors’ cognition.


This article appears in the March 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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