A recent study indicates that women who stay physically fit during their middle-aged years are far less likely to develop dementia than those women who choose to forego exercise.
In fact, a team of researchers working out of the Gothenburg, Sweden found that the fittest of women studied were 90% less likely to develop the debilitating disease than were women who were among the least fit.
Highly fit for the purposes of the study meant capable of moderate exercise on a daily basis.
In addition to demonstrating the power of exercise to prevent the onset of dementia, the study also likely shows that future dementia sufferers likely show some signs of the disease years before diagnosis.
Helena Horder, a member of the research team conducting the study, expressed excitement for which she felt is the important discovery that an individual choosing to improve their cardiovascular health in earlier years can avoid dementia when they are older.
The findings of researchers at Gothenburg are in line with a growing set of data that is painting a pretty clear picture about the ability of exercise to preserve the health of the brain.
Horder’s team of researchers observed 191 women, all of whom are taking part in a much larger study taking part in the country that follows subjects for their entire lives.
The average age of the subjects of this particular study was 50 in 1968 when exercise tests were given to them. The women had their fitness levels measured by riding exercise bikes and have received regular examinations since that point.
Forty-four of the original 191 women have developed dementia. The instances of dementia correlated directly with the original fitness levels of the women.
The women who could not finish the test in 1968 were determined to have a 45% chance of developing dementia while the fittest amongst the women were shown only to develop the disease 5% of the time. One-fourth of the women who were determined to be of medium fitness levels would later contract the disease.
Nicole Spartano has done similar studies at Boston University and notes that the same things that are good for the heart are turning out to be just as good for the brain. Spartano also explains that it is not necessary to be an elite athlete to obtain the benefits of exercise and that moderate daily activity of some type will in most cases be enough.