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We’re nearly a month into the New Year, and you may have given up on your New Year’s Resolutions already. But new research may motivate you to keep your fitness goals. New research shows that there is a direct link between fitness as you age and your risk for dementia. Now, preventing dementia is as easy as running.
Women were studied for 44 years in a vast range of cardiovascular fitness levels. Those with higher levels of daily cardiovascular activities were found to have a lower risk of dementia later on in life. Those with high fitness levels delayed the onset of dementia by 5 years compared to those with medium fitness. Meaning, walking is no longer enough to ward off the disease, preventing dementia requires high levels of fitness.
Here’s how you can increase your cardiovascular fitness from medium to high in order to prevent dementia.
Increase Your Activity
Preventing dementia needs to start when your risk is still low, like in your 30s and younger. But if you've neglected cardiovascular training, start with walking. As you get more comfortable with walking, increase the time you’re walking. If that seems easy after a month or two, start a light jog. Keep increasing the difficulty of cardiovascular exercise you’re reaching for until you’re running marathons! The high fitness participants had a high peak level of exertion, so keep going until a 5k run is too easy!
Vary Your Activity
It’s so easy to give up something that you’ve lost interest in. And it's really easy when the end goal, preventing dementia, is so far away from your current reality. So walking the same loop around your neighborhood every single day is going to get boring.
One day walk around your neighborhood, and the next go for a swim. By keeping your brain engaged in the activity, it will be easier to stick with it. Plus, a mental exercise is definitely going to help fight off dementia as well.
Get Better Sleep
There’s no better deterrent for exercise than lack of energy. If you’re not getting the right amount of sleep every night, you won’t want to exercise first thing in the morning. Instead, you’ll snooze your alarm for as long as possible. Plus, research shows lack of sleep also contributes to dementia risk, so skipping sleep for more exercise isn’t going to help you ward off your risk for dementia.
If you’re setting big goals for 2019 and one of your New Year’s Resolution’s is to get more activity in your day, then congratulations! You’ve taken the first step in warding off dementia by increasing your cardiovascular health!
At ExpressMed, your health is our priority. Keep with your resolutions with these tips to decrease your risk of dementia.