Walking May Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease
Last updated 7/24/2022 at 8:05pm | View PDF
Walking for as little as 15 minutes a day may help stave off Alzheimer's Disease, says a study at the Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center. The study found that regular habits of daily or frequent walks were instrumental in helping reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease.
According to study author Dr. Edward Zamrini, "One exciting finding of this study is that as people's fitness improved, their risk of Alzheimer's disease decreased – it was not an all-or-nothing proposition."
The study found that people who took a 30-minute walk five days a week, or a 15-minute walk daily, were 33% less likely to develop the disease. The key was doing the walk regularly.
The study group consisted of 649,605 military vets, average age 61, none of whom had Alzheimer's disease when they began the study. The group was followed for nine years, after being divided into five groups based on their fitness.
How well participants did on a treadmill test determined which group participants were in.
For those who were middle-aged and older, the highest level of fitness was achieved by a half hour of walking briskly five days a week. The group with the lowest level of fitness developed Alzheimer's at a rate of 9.5 cases per 1,000 person-years, compared to 6.4 cases per 1,000 person-years for the most fit group.
Regular exercise has long been recommended as a deterrent to developing Alzheimer's or other dementias, as well as many other conditions associated with aging bodies.
Additionally, a diet comparable to the Mediterranean or DASH diets, at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night, regular mindfulness exercises or meditation, stress reduction, some regular form of cognitive stimulation, and regular socialization are all helpful in at least stalling the development of Alzheimer's symptoms.
Dr. Elna Tymes has a private practice in Alzheimer's and other dementias.
© Cognitas Health, 2022