We all know that getting regular exercise is good for our hearts. But now, two new studies show the good habit also supports brain health. Research shows that fitness in your 40s and 50s can cut dementia risk in your future, according to a study from the Cooper Institute in Dallas.
Among nearly 20,000 participants in the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, those around age 50 with the highest levels of cardiovascular fitness were 36 percent less likely than their least fit counterparts to be diagnosed with dementia after age 65, say Laura F. DeFina, M.D. and colleagues of the Cooper Institute in Dallas. In other research, the journal Stroke reports that women who walk briskly for at least three hours per week can lower their risk of brain-damaging stroke, based on a survey of nearly 33,000 men and women. Unfortunately (and for yet-to-be-discovered reasons) this benefit did not extend to men.
A note from Post cardiologist Dr. Douglas Zipes: Twenty to 30 minutes of exercise at least five days per week is a great way to reduce weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of cardiovascular disease and dementia. I do it, and so should you!