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Brain Health: Keeping Active in Middle Age Related to Lower Risk of Dementia

April 2019

Adventures in Eldercare

A new study in the medical journal Neurology has found that keeping physically and mentally active in middle age may reduce risk of developing dementia decades later.

This interesting long term study involved 800 Swedish women that were an average age of 47 when the study began and they were followed for the next 44 years. They were asked about their physical and mental activities over the years.

Physical activities included activities such as walking, gardening, bowling and biking. The activities were rated and categorized as intense, moderate or inactive.

Mental activities included reading and writing and were further split into artistic and manual activities. Artistic were such things as singing, attending concerts and art galleries. Manual were activities such as playing a musical instrument or doing needlepoint or knitting. The study tried to include a wide range of probable and common activities both physical and mental.

The study found that women with high levels of mental activities were 46% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease and 34% less likely to develop Dementia. That is a pretty good payback for keeping mentally active!

Even better news on the physical activity side. The physically active women were 56% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or any type of Dementia than the inactive women.

If you are in your late forties it is pretty clear from this extensive long term study that Physical and Mental activity today will help to protect your brain health as you age. Don’t put off that activity you have been wanting to try for one more day, this is an investment in your health that can be fun and that protection from Dementia is one great incentive!

Dr. Bruce Veltri is the founder and CEO of Victoria Eldercare, a Norfolk County based home care agency. Call 519-429-2644 or visit our website at for more information.

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