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Want to keep your brain sharp as you age? Get moving – even if you have signs of dementia

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Older people who move may keep more of their memory and thinking skills than those who are less active – even if they have brain lesions or biomarkers related to dementia – according to a new study.

Previous research has already proven that moving more is linked to a lower risk of dementia. Now US researchers have shown higher levels of activity – as well as better motor skills which help with movement and coordination – are connected to improved thinking and memory skills.

They studied 454 people – 191 with dementia – by giving them physical exams and thinking and memory tests every year for 20 years.

Their findings?

Never too late to get started

For every increase in physical activity, participants’ likelihood of developing dementia dropped by 31 per cent. Every increase in motor skills decreased the chances of dementia by 55 per cent.

What’s more, these benefits stayed around – even if the participant had signs of Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia-related disease in their brain.

The researchers say it shows movement could give people a “cognitive reserve” – and even though people may start developing signs of dementia, you can help to mitigate the effects with more activity.

This doesn’t just mean daily exercise either – even everyday physical activities such as housework had benefits.

A good reason to get that vacuum out?

With a background in nursing, Annie has spent over 20 years working in the health industry, including the coordination of medical support for international TV productions and major stadium events, plus education campaigns with a number of national health organisations. In recent years, she has also taken time out of the workforce to be a full-time carer, giving her first-hand experience of the challenges and rewards of this role.


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