Can exercise reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease? What to know

The Alzheimer's Association has established 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

I have written about Alzheimer’s disease several times over the years and it always attracts a huge response from readers. Why? With all the daunting aspects associated with aging, the thing that seems to scare us the most is Alzheimer’s, a progressive disease that gradually gets worse over time.

Early on there’s memory loss, quite common among those of us as we age, and I have my fair share at age 76. But as the disease progresses, not only is memory lost, but there is also an inability to converse and respond appropriately to what is happening around you.

Unfortunately, despite the investment of countless millions of dollars in Alzheimer’s research by big pharmaceutical companies, a cure has not been found. Worse, it appears that aging, something we all want to do, is the biggest risk factor. A hereditary link is possible, but even so, lifestyle and environment are key factors. Since there is no cure, is it possible to delay the onset or better yet prevent this dreaded disease?

Can exercise help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease?

Dementia is a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills, with Alzheimer's disease being the most common form, according to the Alzheimer's Association

It’s too early to be conclusive, but considerable evidence is growing that regular exercise can be very effective.

A comprehensive review of research in this area published in Frontiers of Neuroscience in 2020 provides some insights. In a nutshell, two main findings were highlighted. One, being physically inactive is one of the most common preventable risk factors for developing it [Alzheimer’s disease]and higher levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of [Alzheimer’s disease] development.”

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