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Daily walking or cycling could “reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s in the elderly”




Brisk daily exercise

Brisk daily exercise “may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s in the elderly.” (SWNS)

A brisk walk or a daily bike ride could help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in older people, new research shows.

We all know that staying active can be vital in improving our physical health, but scientists have found that regular exercise can also help protect against mental decline.

This is because physical activity helps reduce inflammation in the brain, and higher levels of inflammation have been shown to negatively affect cognitive processes.

“No one will argue that an active lifestyle is right for you,” says lead author of the study, Dr. Kaitlin Casaletto, of the University of California, San Francisco.

“But it’s still unclear how physical activity improves brain health, especially in Alzheimer’s disease.

“The benefits may result from decreased activation of immune cells.”

Read more: These are the key decades for being in good shape if you want to avoid dementia, study finds

Staying active could be good for the brain.  (SWNS)

Staying active could be good for the brain. (SWNS)

Dementia affects around 920,000 people in the UK, a figure expected to rise to two million by 2050.

The number of people with the disease is steadily increasing due to the increase in longevity.

It is estimated that in the next three decades, cases worldwide will triple to more than 150 million.

The complex and debilitating disease is associated with a progressive decline in brain function and is ultimately accompanied by a terminal diagnosis.

But the disease is not always fully understood, which means that people often have a hard time spotting the risk factors associated with it, and with no cure in sight, the lifestyle changes that may occur. can help to avoid it, like daily exercise, are essential.

To concern: New study suggests morning coffee or tea may reduce risk of dementia and stroke

Previous studies have revealed a plethora of age-related changes in the brain, and major immune effectors, known as microglia, are at the center of these events.

Dr Casaletto explains, “Microglia, the brain’s resident immune cells, work to remove debris and foreign invaders from the brain.

“But too much activation can trigger inflammation, damage neurons and disrupt brain signaling.

“Exercise helps reduce abnormal activation in animals – but this link has not been established in humans.”

For this particular study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, Dr Casaletto and his colleagues followed 167 elderly people to examine the relationship between physical activity and microglia activation.

The study participants were part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project, which recruits dementia-free volunteers who accept organ donation.

Participants covered the spectrum of cognitive aging and wore activity monitors around the clock for up to ten days just before annual cognitive exams.

The researchers measured the activation of microglia and the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease in post-mortem analyzes of brain tissue.

“More physical activity was linked to lower microglial activation,” says Dr Casaletto.

She says this was particularly noticeable in the lower temporal gyrus, which is a part of the brain that is hardest hit by Alzheimer’s disease.

“Physical activity had a more pronounced effect on inflammation in people with more severe Alzheimer’s disease,” continues Dr Casaletto.

Read more: Couple marry for the second time after husband’s dementia causes them to forget about their first marriage

Physical activity dulls inflammation in the brain - protecting against mental decline, scientists say.  (SWNS)

Physical activity dulls inflammation in the brain – protecting against mental decline, scientists say. (SWNS)

“Physical activity is linked to better cognitive aging and a reduced risk of neurodegenerative disease,” she adds.

For healthy adults, doctors recommend at least 150 or 75 minutes of moderate or vigorous aerobic activity, respectively, each week.

Read more: What are the risk factors for dementia?

According to the Alzheimer Society, risk factors increase a person’s risk of developing dementia over time.

But there are also protective factors, such as exercise, which can help reduce the risk of developing the disease.

While some risk factors for dementia cannot be avoided or controlled, such as age, genetics, gender, and ethnicity, other factors are modifiable, which means we can take steps to address them. modify and potentially reduce the risk of dementia.

The six risk factors are alcohol abuse, genetics, smoking, high blood pressure, depression and diabetes, while exercise is a protective factor against disease.

The Alzheimer Society says that middle-aged and older adults who regularly exercise aerobic exercise have lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Studies estimate that the protective effect is about a 30-40% reduction in the risk of dementia compared to those who do little or no physical activity.

In addition to physical activity, there are other modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.

Modifiable risk factors


Smokers are at an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, with research estimating the effect to be between 30% and 50% increased risk depending on the study and the type of dementia.

Head trauma

A serious head injury could increase the risk of dementia later in life. There are many variations between studies on the size of the effect, but a study of 200,000 US veterans suggests that a serious head injury can increase the risk of dementia by up to 60%, Davies reveals .


The the benefits of following a Mediterranean style diet have long been discussed, but a diet with a high proportion of fatty fish, fruits, vegetables, unrefined grains and olive oil, and low levels of red meat and sugar is also associated with a reduced risk of dementia. Studies estimate that this could reduce the risk by about a third.

Type 2 diabetes

According to the Alzheimer Society, people with type 2 diabetes are about 60% more likely to develop dementia than people without diabetes.

Arterial hypertension

Long-term research studies have shown that high blood pressure in midlife is a key factor that can increase your risk of developing dementia later in life. These results underscore that a lifelong approach to good health is the best way to reduce your risk of dementia.

SWNS Supplementary Reports.

Anyone with concerns about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia should contact the Alzheimer Society’s Dementia Hotline on 0300 222 1122.

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