Researchers from the Swedish Centre for Aging and Health at the University of Gothenburg have been studying the link between fitness and dementia. They have concluded that high cardio vascular fitness is associated with a decreased risk of dementia.
Good heart health equals good brain health, in other words.
The researchers followed a group of 191 women, aged between 38-60. They began the study in 1968 with a fitness test, asking the women to cycle to the point of exhaustion.
They followed these women for 44 years and discovered that their fitness test scores in 1968 correlated with whether they developed dementia in later life.
The study found that middle aged women with high cardio vascular fitness were 90% less likely to develop dementia than those with a moderate degree of fitness.
45% of the women who could not complete the cardio test in 1968 developed dementia in later life. 32% of the women who had a low fitness score developed dementia. However, only 5% of those women with a high fitness score went on to develop dementia.
Additionally, of those who did go on to develop dementia, those who had a high fitness level started showing signs of the disease (such as memory loss) 11 years later than their less fit counterparts.
So it would seem that if you start exercising young enough – in your late 30’s – you are significantly less likely to develop dementia.
With dementia rates on the rise, it’s time to lace up those trainers!
wow - a 44 year study? That's got to be believable in my book. What an incentive!