Dementia: Going for a walk three times a week could help prevent the condition | Health | Life & Style

Dementia: Going for a walk three times a week could help prevent the condition | Health | Life & Style 46

Dementia describes several conditions, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common, caused by a decline in brain function.

Dementia week, which aims to raise awareness of the condition, is being celebrated this week and hopes to encourage Britons to help sufferers.

You can get involved by attending events organised by your local community or a national charity.

Signs and symptoms of the condition tend to appear in later life, when your risk of developing dementia increases.

Dr Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist, says that to avoid dementia you should walk three times a week.

“From [several] studies, we can conclude that walking and overall cardiovascular-focused exercises improved brain function and thinking skills,” says Dr Axe on his website.

“While there are many more questions to be answered about the connection between exercise and dementia, taking a walk around the block seems like a viable first step to a healthy brain.”

To support his claim, Dr Axe mentions two recent studies.

A 2018 study, published in the journal Neurology, found that middle aged Swedish women who had a high cardiovascular fitness, were associated with a “decreased risk of subsequent dementia”.

Another study last year, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that aerobic training for adults with mild dementia could improve brain function.

However, recent research has suggested that exercise may have no impact on your risk of developing dementia.

Published last week in the British Medical Journal, a study found that exercise for people who already have mild to moderate dementia will not help prevent cognitive decline.

“A moderate to high intensity aerobic and strength exercise training programme does not slow cognitive impairment in people with mild to moderate dementia,” says the study.

“The exercise training programme improved physical fitness, but there were no noticeable improvements in other clinical outcomes.”

The study, led by researchers from Oxford University, followed 494 dementia sufferers with an average age of 77, of which two thirds were assigned to an aerobic and strength exercise programme while the rest had usual care.

This week you can take part in a number of events nationwide for dementia action week, which aims to promote knowledge of the condition.

On its website, the Alzheimer’s Society encourages people to “choose and share an action to support people with dementia”, during this week.

Other actions that it suggests include attending events, making a donation to help fight the disease or even becoming a  ‘dementia friend’. This means you are committed to working with the Society to help people suffering with the condition.

You may also be able to reduce your risk of dementia by eating a mediterranean diet and quitting smoking.

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