Exercise May Reduce Dementia Risk, Study Says


Aerobic exercise may reduce the risk of dementia, and it may slow the condition’s progression once it starts, according to a Mayo Clinic study.

The study, which was published this month in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, examined the role of aerobic exercise in preserving cognitive abilities.

“We concluded that you can make a very compelling argument for exercise as a disease-modifying strategy to prevent dementia and mild cognitive impairment, and for favorably modifying these processes once they have developed,” J. Eric Ahlskog, a neurologist at the Mayo Clinic and one of the researchers, said in the release.

The study’s abstract also said that compared to a control group of sedentary patients with dementia or mild cognitive impairment in randomized control trials, patients with the same conditions had better cognitive scores after six to 12 months of exercise. A review of another randomized control trial found that seniors who exercised had an attenuation of age-related gray matter volume loss.

The study was a review of 1,600 studies, 130 of which related directly to this issue. Aerobic activity was defined as any activity that increased the heart rate and increased the need for oxygen, including walking, jogging, shoveling snow and raking leaves.

This study comes just a few weeks after release of a University of Colorado study that found that small amounts of exercise can prevent memory loss after an illness or disease by preventing infection.

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