According to a preliminary study, people who practice physical activities are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Fitness is a state of health and well-being and is classified as the ability to perform aspects of sports, occupations and daily activities. Physical fitness can be achieved through a combination of proper diet, regular exercise, and other practices that promote good health.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease with symptoms developing gradually over many years. Research has highlighted how regular physical fitness can reduce the risk of prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease.
“An exciting finding from this study is that as people’s physical condition improved, their risk of Alzheimer’s disease decreased – this was not an all-or-nothing proposition,” the author said. study Edward Zamrini, MD, of the Washington VA Medical Center, and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. “Thus, people can strive for incremental changes and improvements in their physical fitness, and hopefully this will be associated with a related decrease in their risk of Alzheimer’s disease years later.”
The complete study will be presented to the American Academy of Neurology 74th annual meeting.
Fitness and Alzheimer’s Disease
The study involved 649,605 military veterans in the Veterans Health Administration database with an average age of 61 who were followed for an average of nine years. Not all participants were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at the start of the study.
The researchers set out to analyze the cardiorespiratory fitness of the participants. Cardiorespiratory fitness is a measure of your body’s ability to transport oxygen to your muscles and the ability of your muscles to absorb oxygen during exercise.
The participants were divided into five groups, which were determined by their physical fitness (from least fit to most fit). Fitness levels were defined by participants’ performance on a treadmill test. This test measures exercise capacity, which is defined as the greatest amount of physical exertion a person can sustain. For middle-aged and older people, the highest level of fitness can be achieved by brisk walking most days of the week for an extra two and a half hours or more per week.
What the study found
The researchers found that the group with the lowest fitness level developed Alzheimer’s disease at a rate of 9.5 cases per 1,000 person-years, compared to 6.4 cases per 1,000 person-years for the fittest group.
Person-years represent the number of people participating in a study as well as the time spent in the study. The case rate decreased as fitness level increased, with a rate of 8.5 for the second least fit group, 7.4 for the middle group and 7.2 for the second fittest group. form.
The scientists adjusted for other factors that might contribute to a higher prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. They found that individuals in the fittest group were 33% less likely to develop the condition than those in the least fit group. The second fittest group was 26% less likely to develop the disease, while the middle group was 20% less likely and those in the second least fit group were 13% less likely to develop the disease than those in the lowest group. less fit.
“The idea that you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease simply by increasing your activity is very promising, especially since there are no adequate treatments to prevent or halt the progression of the disease,” said concluded Zamrini. “We hope to develop a simple scale that can be individualized so people can see the benefits that even incremental improvements in fitness can bring.”
However, a limitation of this study was that the participants were predominantly white men, so the results may not be generalizable to other populations.
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