New Delhi: Exercise has many known benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, strengthening the bones and muscles and reducing stress. Regular exercise is the best lifestyle change a middle-aged person can make to prevent dementia. It also appears that regular physical activity benefits the brain. Studies show that people who are physically active are less likely to experience a decline in their mental function and have a lowered risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Activity of any intensity, from walking the dog to mountain climbing, helps prevents the cognitive decline typical in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Recent research has shown abnormalities in the brain tissue begin several decades before the onset of cognitive decline. But, little is known about the lifestyle factors that might slow the onset of decline in middle age.
Physical activity seems to help the brain not only by keeping your blood flowing but also by increasing chemicals that protect the brain. Physical activity also tends to counter some of the natural reduction in brain connections that occurs with aging. As cases of Alzheimer's disease diagnosis double every five years after the age of 65, most studies examining risk factors and cognitive disease recruit participants over the age of 60 or 70. The study, which was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Alzheimer's Association, was published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. More research is needed to know to what degree adding physical activity improves memory or slows the progression of cognitive decline. Nonetheless, regular exercise is important to stay physically and mentally fit.