By 2030, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease worldwide is expected to double to 80 million. But, a new study finds daily physical activity might provide a person’s best chances of staving off the degenerative brain disorder – even if they’re over 80 years old.
The best part is older adults might not even need to break a sweat to get the protective effects. Activities such as cooking and cleaning led to a protective benefit.
“Our study shows that physical activity, which is an easily modifiable risk factor, is associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease,” study author Dr. Aron S. Buchman, associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, said in a university written statement. “This has important public health consequences.
For Buchman’s study, published April 18 in the journal Neurology, Rush researchers monitored 716 adults – average age of 82 – with a device called an actigraph for 10 days. An actigraph is worn on a person’s non-dominant wrist and measures levels of daily activity, similar to a pedometer. Participants were also asked to self-report their physical and social activities.