Want to avoid getting dementia in your later years? Exercise! Do physical activities which last 20-30 minutes at least twice a week and which is enough to cause breathlessness and sweating.
Dr Miia Kivipelto and colleagues studied 1,500 men and women, of whom nearly 200 developed dementia or Alzheimer's disease between the ages of 65 and 79. The researchers looked back at how physically active the study participants had been up to 21 years earlier, when they would have been in their late 40s and early 50s. Those who developed Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia were far less likely to have been active when they were middle-aged than those who remained free of dementia.
Reasons why regular exercise might be good for the brain include exercise helping to keep the small blood vessels of the brain healthy, protecting against other conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes that might make dementia more likely, reducing the amount of protein amyloid that builds up in the brain in Alzheimer's disease.