In a small study of 76 patients diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s disease, the half of the group that took brisk walks for at least 150 minutes each week for 6 months, as compared to those who participated only in stretching exercises, functioned better physically. Increased physical fitness also appeared to be related to better memory function and slower shrinkage of the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved with memory.
Many studies have found that exercise and eating healthy food regularly, for example as in a Mediterranean diet, decreases one’s risk for dementia. Keeping blood pressure under control and not smoking—all the heart health recommendations also decrease risk. This goes for dementia in general and also “Alzheimer’s disease,” cited as the most common form of dementia although most people with dementia have a mix of changes classically associated Alzheimer’s degeneration, blood vessel disease and other types of degeneration.
To learn more about the study, you can read this article from the New York Times.
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