To ward off dementia, older adults should stay physical

To ward off dementia, older adults should stay physical

As people grow older, the results of any IQ tests they take could help them identify a decline in their cognitive function. If it appears as though the quality of their memory or their ability to focus has taken a turn for the worse, they could be in the early stages of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

If older adults are concerned about developing a form of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, regular physical activity may be able to lower their chances. This is the conclusion researchers recently arrived at in a study that appears in "Stroke," an American Heart Association journal.

The results of this study applied specifically to older, non-disabled individuals. Overall, 639 people in their 60s and 70s participated in the study. Of them, 64 percent said they were active for at least 30 minutes a day three times a week. The researchers found that study subjects were able to reduce their risk of cognitive impairment by 60 percent and vascular-related dementia by 40 percent so long as they were engaged in physical activity.

"We strongly suggest physical activity of moderate intensity at least 30 minutes three times a week to prevent cognitive impairment," said Ana Verdelho, a neuroscience researcher at the University of Lisbon, Santa Maria Hospital in Portugal, who also served as the study's lead author. "This is particularly important for people with vascular risk factors such as hypertension, stroke or diabetes."


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