For most people, reducing Alzheimer’s risk is vital. Dementia affects more than 6 million people in the U.S., with women at higher risk than men. This is projected to double by 2050. Dementia’s onset begins 20 or more years before symptoms show. Prevention is critical, as dementia symptoms are difficult to slow or reverse and has no cure. University of California at San Diego researchers examined accelerometer and health data from 1,277 women in the Women’s Health Initiative studies.
Data analysis showed that for women ages 65 or older, each additional 31 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was linked with a 21% lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia. For each additional 1,865 daily steps, risk was reduced by 33%. Higher amounts of sitting and prolonged sitting was not associated with higher dementia risks.
“Older adults can be encouraged to increase movement of at least moderate intensity and take more steps each day for a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia,” said lead study author Steve Nguyen, PhD, MPH, postdoctoral scholar at UCSD School of Public Health.
The study is reported in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association (2023).