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Being on your 40’s exposes you to the risk for cognitive decline, a condition called dementia. This condition involves a decline in the mental ability of an individual which affects one’s capacity to process thoughts resulting in memory loss. Dementia represents a condition involving various cognitive symptoms involving memory loss, judgment ability, reasoning, visual perception, inability to focus and difficulty in communication. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia has no cure and may progressively occur. It could start as manifesting some few symptoms that usually gets worse over time. While dementia is a condition that usually occurs later in life, it can be prevented with exercise during the midlife. A research study showed that individuals who have exercised a lot during midlife and able to maintain a higher level of fitness showed a delayed onset of dementia and were found to be at lower risk of developing the condition. This study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
There were about 20,000 individuals in their middle age who took a treadmill test to gauge their level of fitness. These individuals were in their 40’s and 50’s and are patients from the Cooper Clinic located in Dallas, Texas. The role of exercise in retarding diseases and how it impacts the health conditions of individuals is a subject of study by the Cooper Institute. The treadmill test was taken between the late 1971 and 2009 and the researchers then evaluated the subjects’ Medicare claims later on to see which subject developed dementia in the later years.
The research outcome signifies that those who were fit with exercise during the treadmill test were less likely to develop dementia later after the age of 65. The outcome was based from the follow-up research that was taken between 1999 to 2009 where the researchers evaluated the Medicare records of the participants to identify claims for dementia or Alzheimer’s. From the individuals who participated in the study, about nine percent of them developed dementia or Alzheimer’s later on in their life. These individuals appear to be less fit during the treadmill test performed earlier in their midlife.
Previous researches already linked exercise to the improvement of cognitive function. Moderate exercise for instance was attributed to improve memory and reduces the risk to poor memory and memory loss later in life. Among the moderate exercises that doctors advocate to promote a better memory function are walking and swimming. However, the medical industry is divided in this point of view. There were claims that there was insufficient evidence that would accurately prove how exercise could affect cognitive performance in the older population.
Individuals in the older population are likewise at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. As a result, this makes people susceptible to stroke which is a condition known to cause a damage to the brain that causes dementia to occur. Untreated hypertension in midlife is known to be a risk factor for dementia. Randomized trials were also conducted earlier that showed early management of hypertension in midlife lowers the risks of dementia to occur later in life.
Researches that are focused on the role of exercise contributed to the study that not only is fitness and exercise affects the body’s ability to ward off cognitive impairments later in life. Prevention involves an interplay of a good diet and healthy lifestyle as well. While researchers do not provide a more specific exercise intensity that would help reduce the risks of dementia, a brisk walk of 30 minutes a day will suffice to keep the body fit and healthy that would help prevent other risk factors that could cause dementia to occur such as hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.