(NaturalHealth365) A new study has just determined that persons who have a sedentary lifestyle can be just as much at risk of suffering from dementia than those who are predisposed to it genetically. The study was conducted at the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Canada and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
There are currently around 47.5 million people living with dementia worldwide. By the year 2030, this number could be as high as 75.6 million. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for around 60 to 80 percent of all cases. An estimated 5.4 million persons in the U.S. currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.
Sedentary lifestyle just as damaging as having Alzheimer’s gene
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a specific gene called the apolipoprotein E (APOE) e4 gene is one of the largest identifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Adults who have one copy of this gene are three times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those without it. Persons with two copies of the APOE gene are 8 to 12 times more likely to develop the brain disease.
However, the new study shows that dementia risk may be just as high in older adults who live a sedentary lifestyle. In effect, missing out on exercise benefits may “negate the protective effects” that their healthy genetics give them.
In the study, the researchers analyzed 1,646 older adults in relation to dementia development and their level of physical activity. These individuals were participants in the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. All were free of dementia at the start of the study and were followed up for about 5 years.
Most older adults spend up to 80 percent of their day sedentary
Among participants without the APOE e4 gene, researchers found those with a sedentary lifestyle were more likely to develop dementia. Conversely, those without the gene who were active received exercise benefits that included a lowered risk of Alzheimer’s.
For those with the APOE e4 Alzheimer’s gene, there was no difference in dementia risk between those with a sedentary lifestyle and those who exercised regularly. The findings indicate that missing out on exercise benefits can be just as risky as carrying the dementia gene.
Older adults should strive to get about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of more vigorous activity per week. Unfortunately, most adults over age 60 spend from 65 to 80 percent of their day sedentary, according to the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. This is an average of 9.4 hours a day.
Just 10 to 15 minutes of exercise per day can reduce dementia risk
The good news is that increasing physical activity can do wonders for lowering the risk of memory loss. Although age is a factor in risk level, lifestyle choices matter quite a bit.
Further studies could pinpoint the best types of exercise for avoiding dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. But, for now, striving for a brisk 15-minute walk five days per week would be a wise choice that yields many exercise benefits.
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