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Exercise lowers dementia risk, scientists say

People running on treadmill
Image shows people running of treadmills | Courtesy of pxfuel

People who are more physically fit have a lower risk of dementia, according to a recent study The study was one of the largest to test the link between physical fitness and the risk of dementia. Almost 650,000 people who had served in the military were studied by Edward Zamrini and his colleagues at George Washington University.

At the beginning of the study none of the participants had symptoms of dementia. They were followed up for a period of almost nine years, and during that time 44,105 of those developed dementia.

At the start of the study the participants were split into five groups based on their performance in a treadmill test. The treadmill test measured how much oxygen the participants used during exercise. The results spoke for themselves. Those in the least fit group could decrease their risk of developing dementia by thirty-three percent if they increased their exercise to the level of the fittest group. Even if they only increased their fitness to the level of the second least-fit group, their risk drops by 13%!

There are several theories as to why exercise lowers dementia risk. Zamrini says that improving blood flow to the brain and increasing connectivity between neurons may be one theory. Other factors include exercise lowering the risk anxiety and depression, which are correlated with developing dementia.

Several studies have already shown how exercise decreases the dementia risk. In fact, some previous studies have indicated that exercise can also help to stimulate and create new brain cells also.

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