Worried About Dementia? A New Study Shows Exercise May Help Prevent Dementia in Women

We’ve discussed how important fitness is at all ages, and the benefits you can reap by being active as you age. Now, a recently published study conducted in Sweden indicates that women who maintain physical fitness can potentially avoid dementia in old age! If that’s not a good reason to get moving, we don’t know what is. The New York Times ran a piece just this week about the study, and we reviewed how women can protect their cognitive health by proactively protecting their overall health with exercise…

Long-Term Study

According to the Times, beginning in 1968 and continuing through 2012, Swedish researchers followed a group of nearly 200 women ages 30-60 and controlled for factors like smoking, drinking, blood pressure, etc. The women were tested with an “ergometer cycling test” and were then placed in a group of either low, medium, or high fitness levels. At the end of the study period, the researchers found that the high fitness group had a 5% occurrence of dementia, compared to 25% occurrence in the medium fitness group, and a 32% occurrence in the low fitness group.  The Times also reports that the average age for the onset of dementia was eleven years older in the high fitness group. They report that high fitness carried an 88% reduced risk of dementia compared to only medium fitness.

Many Benefits

The Times article also quotes the study’s senior author, Dr Skoog, as saying that women should be active for more reasons than just preventing dementia. Dr. Skoog rightfully notes that maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle has myriad benefits such as improved heart health, possible cancer-risk reduction, dementia prevention, and he says that you get the immediate benefit of simply “feeling better.”

Where to Start

If you’re middle-aged (or beyond) and don’t know where to start you aren’t alone. Going to a gym or even undertaking a new hobby can be daunting but the benefits are worth the learning curve. If you’re interested in cardio classes, try your local YMCA or gym and start with a beginner or new-member class. Better yet, take a friend – you’ll both have fun and get some exercise! If you want to take up running, biking, golfing, etc there are plenty of clubs or coaches who can offer guidance and support as you get moving. You’ll find most sports communities are welcoming and encouraging to new members.

At Body One Physical Therapy, we support and encourage all our clients on their fitness journeys. We developed our Sustained Optimal Performance (SOP) program to help you reach your health and fitness goals. If you take advantage of our SOP program, you’ll meet with one of our highly-trained providers; they’ll create a detailed plan to address any balance, strength, movement, issues and provide guidance to overall cardiovascular health. While our SOP program is cash-based, it may qualify under your HSA for distribution of payment for prevention and wellness services. If you’re struggling instead with existing pain and/or movement, strength, or balance problems and don’t know where to start, we can help with that, too. Don’t let an injury or frustrating pain keep you from living the life you deserve. Body One PT is locally-owned with five convenient locations serving central Indiana: Downtown Indianapolis, North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Zionsville, and Fishers. Call us today and make tomorrow the first day of the rest and best of your life!

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