Video: Get Physical To Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

A new study finds that exercise has benefits beyond fitness

Physical activity for Alzheimer's

It’s never too late to reap the benefits of an active lifestyle — and the benefits go far beyond physical fitness. A new study finds daily physical activity, from washing the dishes to routine exercise, may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease at any age.

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Ronan Factora, MD, did not take part in the study, but he works with Alzheimer’s patients at Cleveland Clinic.

“This benefit was persistent regardless of whether or not you had a lot of other conditions that may affect your mobility,” Dr. Factora says. “Whether you had a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, if you were considered obese, if you had the gene for Alzheimer’s disease — it didn’t matter. The exercise, the physical activity still provided some level of protection for you.”

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Researchers at Rush University in Chicago studied more than 700 people whose average age was 82. Each person wore a device that monitored their activity. Results show the people who were least active were two to three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers say activities such as cooking, washing the dishes and cleaning count, and that even people over age 80 can benefit.

Dr. Factora says it’s never too late to start.

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“Even doing daily activities was measured and considered physical activity,” he says. “Of course, the more you did and the higher the intensity of the activity, you actually got even more benefit. So this really spoke to not being sedentary and living an active lifestyle and how that, in and of itself, can contribute to reducing your dementia risk.”

Read complete findings for this study in the journal Neurology.

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