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Midlife Exercise Staves off Dementia

Update Date: Apr 09, 2014 06:17 PM EDT

Exercising in middle age may protect against dementia, according to a new study.

Researchers found that people who exercised twice a week were significantly less likely to develop dementia compared to those who were less active.

Researchers also found that the findings were particularly pronounced in overweight individuals. Furthermore, the findings revealed that becoming more physically active after midlife might also help lower the risk of dementia.

The latest study reveals that people who engaged in leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) at least twice per week had lower risk of dementia in comparison to less active individuals. While this effect was apparent in all people regardless of sex or genetic risk factors, researchers found that it was particularly pronounced in overweight and obese individuals.

Researchers said the findings held true even after accounting for socioeconomic background, age, sex, genetic risk factors, obesity, weight loss, general health status or work-related physical activity.

The latest study involved data from the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Incidence of Dementia (CAIDE) Study. Participants were derived from four separate, independent, population-based random samples examined in the North Karelia Project and FINMONICA study in 1972, 1977, 1982, or 1987. The average age for participants at the start of the study was 50.

The findings were published in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.

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