Everyone in every ages has been recommended to regularly do physical exercises due to a wide range of benefits that cannot be denied. Scientists have disclosed a few days ago one more critical benefit of regular exercises which makes your heart pump. It is that they can contribute to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease among older people.
Dr. Cyrus Raji, lead author and a Radiology researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles and his colleagues conducted a study to look at the impact of exercises on mental improvement. They found that regular physical activities can help reduce dementia risk by up to 50 percent.
“Any type of physical activity that burns calories – from jogging to gardening to walking to dancing – is associated with more gray matter in the brain,” said Dr. Raji. “The most important thing is that it’s regular.”
The researchers looked at almost 876 senior patients exercised most had more neurons in areas of the brain containing the hippocampus, which is one of the components to control memory.
They participants, at age 78 on average, were studied on across 4 research sites in the United States and followed for 30 years. They also took MRI scans of the brain analyzed by advanced computer algorithms to measure the volumes of brain structures such as hippocampus.
The results then implied that the physical activities correlated to the brain volumes and spanned several interests from gardening and dancing to riding an exercise cycle at the gym. Using estimates of weekly calorie expenditure, the researchers discovered that increasing exercises was corresponded to larger brain volumes in the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes including the hippocampus.
The researchers found that those doing physical activities and having this brain benefit experienced a 50 percent reduction in their risk of dementia.
“This is the first study in which we have been able to correlate the predictive benefit of different kinds of physical activity with the reduction of Alzheimer’s risk through specific relationships with better brain volume in such a large sample,” said Dr. Raji.
The study measured 15 leisure-time activities, including:
– Riding an exercise cycle.
One of the prior study by the University of Cambridge suggested a hypothesis that Alzheimer’s disease can be preventable with some lifestyle changes including more exercises and stop smoking.
“We have no magic bullet cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Our focus needs to be on prevention,” said Dr. Raji.
In the UK, there are 850,000 people with dementia. This number is expected to rise to more than a million by 2025 and 2 million by 2051.
Alzheimer’s patients in the U.S are currently about 5.1 million and projected to reach to 13.8 million over the next 30 years.
It is estimated that more than 106 million people all over the world will be living with Alzheimer’s by 2050.