There is an abundance of research indicating the importance of physical exercise and overall fitness level. If you need more reason to keep fit and exercise, here is another one. According to a recent study published in March 2018 by Swedish researchers, high fitness levels may lower the risk of developing dementia.
The participants in the study were middle-aged women aged 38 to 60. It was found that those with high levels of cardiovascular fitness were almost 90% less likely to develop dementia later in life than those with moderate levels of cardiovascular fitness. Furthermore, the symptoms
associated with dementia, like trouble with memory and thinking, seemed to appear much later depending on the women’s fitness. Those who were considered extremely fit and developed dementia later in life, exhibited dementia symptoms, on average, 11 years later than those who were considered moderately fit.
What is the explanation behind these findings? The researchers suggest that a healthy cardiovascular fitness is related to increased blood flow to the brain. It also may be the effects of lower blood pressure and healthy body weight associated with being extremely fit.
Like most studies, there is no conclusive cause-and-effect relationship that can be established. However, what we can gain from this study, is that there is some correlation between physical health and mental health, especially for middle-aged women.
Science, L. (2018). Exercise Could Ward Off Dementia for Women — If They Start At the Right Age. [online] Live Science. Available at: https://www.livescience.com/62022-fitness-dementia-women-middle-age.html [Accessed 31 May 2018].