A study found that people between the ages of 40 and 79 who walked 9,826 steps a day were 50% less likely to develop dementia within seven years. In addition, those who walked more than her 40 steps a minute with “purpose”, he took just 6,315 steps a day, and he was able to reduce his risk of dementia by 57%.
“It’s a brisk walking activity, like a power walk,” said co-author of the study, adjunct associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark, and senior researcher in health sciences at the University of Cadiz in Spain. Borja del Pozo Cruz said. .
The study found that even those who walked about 3,800 steps a day, regardless of speed, had a 25% lower risk of dementia.
“Initially, this may be sufficient for sedentary people,” Del Pozo Cruz said in an email.
“Actually, this is a message that doctors can use to motivate very sedentary older people. Even those who don’t feel it,” he added. “Perhaps a more active and healthy person should aim for 10k where he sees the greatest effect.”
But according to the editorial “Is 112 the New 10,000?”, the study had an even more interesting result. On Tuesday he was published in JAMA Neurology.
The editorial argued that people trying to reduce their risk of dementia looked at walking pace across distances walked.
Alzheimer’s disease researcher Ozioma Okonkwo writes: Elizabeth Planalp in an editorial. Okonkwo is an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine. Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Planalp is a researcher in Okonkwo’s lab.
“I agree that this is a very interesting finding,” Del Pozo Cruz said in an email. “From our point of view, the intensity of the step is important! More than the amount. Because technology can be used to track pace as well as step count, these types of metrics could also be incorporated into commercial watches.” Yes, we need more research on this.”
Don’t have a step counter? Count your steps in 10 seconds and multiply by 6, or multiply your steps in 6 seconds by 10. Either method is fine. However, not everyone has the same step length or fitness level. A fast pace for a 40-year-old may not be sustainable for a 70-year-old.
Editor’s Note: Please consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Stop immediately if you feel pain.
inside the study
The study, also published Tuesday in JAMA Neurology, analyzed data from more than 78,000 people aged 40 to 79 who wore wrist accelerometers. The researchers counted each person’s total number of steps per day and divided them into two categories. Steps per minute, or so-called “intentional” walking. The researchers also analyzed the peak performer, the person who took the most steps within 30 minutes of his day (although the 30 minutes didn’t have to be the same walk). .
The researchers then compared the person’s step count with a diagnosis of any type of dementia seven years later. After adjusting for, the researchers also took into account lifestyle variables such as poor diet, smoking, alcohol use, drug use, sleep problems, and history of cardiovascular disease.
The study had some limitations, the authors note — it is only an observation, so a direct causal link between walking and reduced risk of dementia cannot be established. Furthermore, “the age group of the participants may have limited the number of cases of dementia, which means our results may not be generalizable to older adults,” the study said. says.
“Because dementia diagnosis is often delayed considerably and this study did not include a formal clinical and cognitive assessment of dementia, the prevalence of dementia in the community is much higher. It could have been higher,” the authors added.
While we agree that the findings cannot be interpreted as direct cause and effect, we can no longer ignore the growing evidence supporting the benefits of physical activity for maintaining optimal brain health. , writes Okonkwo and Planalp.
“The time has come for the management of physical inactivity to be considered an essential part of regular primary care for older adults,” they added.
Research piles up
In fact, a recent study published in July found that many leisure activities, including housework, exercise, adult education classes, and visits with family and friends, influence dementia risk in middle-aged people. I got
Regular household chores lowered the risk by 21%, and daily contact with family and friends lowered the risk of dementia by 15%.
Researchers found that everyone who participated in the study benefited from the protective effects of physical and mental activity, regardless of whether they had a family history of dementia.
That study found that exercise boosts levels of a protein known to enhance communication between brain cells via synapses.
“Dementia is fairly preventable,” says Del Pozo Cruz. “Physical activity, as well as other lifestyle behaviors such as avoiding alcohol and smoking, maintaining a healthy diet and weight and sleep, can put you on the right track to avoid dementia.