Dementia care: Best exercises to lower the risk of developing the condition
Dementia is a chronic and progressive syndrome in which there is a deterioration in cognitive function beyond what is expected from the normal ageing process. The disease affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language and judgement. The impairment in cognitive function is commonly accompanied and occasionally preceded by deterioration in emotional control, social behaviour or motivation.
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The Office for National Statistics said of the rise of dementia cases: “With people living longer and surviving other illnesses, the number of people developing dementia and Alzheimer’s is increasing.”
With the rise of cases for this debilitating condition, finding ways to reduce one’s risk is essential and according to studies, there is an exercise proven to help reduce the risk of dementia.
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According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50 percent.
What’s more, exercise can also slow further deterioration in those who have already started to develop cognitive problems.
Exercise may protect against Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia by stimulating the brain’s ability to maintain old connections as well as make new ones.
Walking may help stave off dementia because it improves cerebral blood flow and lowers the risk of vascular dementia.
A finding published in the medical journal Neurology showed that exercise helps delay some of the worst ravages of ageing for both the body and the mind.
The recent research tracked the exercise habits of 749 men and women in Italy who were aged over 65 and were in good health, with no indication of memory problems at the beginning of the study.
After four years, they found that the most-frequent walkers had a 27 percent lower risk for developing vascular dementia than those people who walked the least.
An important aspect of the study is that it again shows exercise doesn’t have to be excruciating to reap the benefits.
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Author of the study, Dr Giovanni Ravaglia of the University Hospital S. Orsola Malpighi in Bologna, Italy said: “It’s important to note than an easy-to-perform moderate activity like walking provided the same cognitive benefits as other, more demanding activities.”
In another study reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, more than 1,700 adults over 65 showed a significant reduction in the risk of dementia among regular walkers.
In the study, walkers who exercised three or more times a week showed a dementia risk of 13 per 1,000 person years, but the adults who walked less often had a risk of 19.7 per 1,000 person years which translates to a nearly 40 percent reduction in risk.
In fact, it is so widely accepted that exercise is a good way to prevent dementia that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend that individuals aged 65 and above engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week, or 75 weekly minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, to keep this form of dementia at bay.
Finally, a third option recommended by the WHO involves both moderate and vigorous-intensity activity, complemented with muscle strengthening activities.
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