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Exercise Shown to Cut the Risk of Dementia by Up To 60%

Physical activity isn't just good for your body; it can also be good for your brain. According to a recent study, exercising for 30 minutes three times a week could reduce the risk of cognitive impairment by up to 60%.

The study included 639 participants in their sixties and seventies. 64% self-reported engaging in physical activity three times a week for 30 minutes or more.

Over the course of three years, the researchers administered cognitive assessments and recorded physical activity. They also administered MRIs at the onset and the conclusion of the study, in order to examine loss of white brain matter.

At the conclusion of the study, 90 individuals had developed dementia and 147 developed cognitive impairment. The researchers found that the risk of vascular-related dementia (dementia caused by blood flow to the brain being cut off) was reduced by 40% in individuals who exercised. Overall dementia was reduced by 60%.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. It was published online ahead of print on November 1, 2012, in the journal Stroke.

Previous clinical studies suggest that even moderate exercise can reduce your risk of dying prematurely, help with blood sugar control, reduce body weight, improve heart health and improve respiratory health.

Even a brisk ten minute walk a day can help. Look for ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine; you’d be surprised how many opportunities there are to get up and get moving.

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