Individuals who are phys­ically active at least twice a week in midlife appear to have a lower likelihood than their less active counterparts of developing dementia in old age.

That finding comes from the Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Aging and Incidence of Dementia (CAIDE) Study performed at the University of Eastern Finland. While the researchers observed this protective effect throughout the study population, it was especially evident among overweight and obese people.

Leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) has previously been shown to have a positive impact on health in general and on cardiovascular well-being in particular. However, the link between LTPA and dementia has been less clear-cut.

Continue Reading

In this study, which included more than 1,400 participants (average age 50 years at study enrollment), Anna-Maija Tolppanen and associates looked at the impact of LTPA on dementia risk from mid- to late life, and the effect of body mass index (BMI), sex, and genetics on that risk.

Based on the information gleaned from the 28-year follow-up, Tolppanen’s group proposed that “the window of opportunity” for physical activity to avert dementia may actually extend from midlife to older ages.

They also noted in their report in Alzheimer’s & Dementia that further data are required regarding the type, intensity, and duration of physical activity most useful for battling late-life cognitive decline.