Sunday, February 10, 2013

If You Jump Up and Down After Reading Today's Blog, You May Actually Remember It When You Get Older!

It won't come as news to anyone that exercise helps you stay fit and being fit is good for your health. It also probably won't come as a surprise that being fit is good for your mood. But what about memory? Will exercise preserve memory? Does being fit earlier in life affect what happens many years later? Will being fit prevent Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia?

Until now, scientists have had strong suspicions that lifestyle plays a meaningful role in preserving healthy brain function, but they didn't know for sure. A new study just came along that moves the needle along in validating the key role that exercise plays in prevention.

Published in the February 5, 2013 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, the study titled "The Association Between Midlife Cardiorespiratory Fitness Levels and Later Life Dementia" was a cohort study that does not prove cause and effect but deserves close attention. The study performed at The Cooper Institute in Dallas Texas involved 19, 458 middle aged people who had a treadmill exercise test as part of health care preventive visit. Based on the amount of time that a person was able to run on the treadmill, researchers grouped them into two categories of most fit and least fit. They then followed these people for many years, beyond the time they reached 65 years, to see who developed dementia.

What did they find? You guessed it. The people in the most fit group were far less likely to develop dementia. Although the study did not look at diet, which is obviously an important contributing factor to health, and was limited to mostly healthy white people, it does offer possible evidence of an association between fitness and memory preservation.  Again, the study did not prove cause and effect but it does provide yet another reason to stay fit by being physically active.

While only 1 out of 8 Americans develop dementia by the age of 65, that number rises to 3 out of 7 by age 85. Although that represents less than half of those over the age of 85, no one, but the most cynical, would disagree that it would be better to avoid dementia than experience it.  It's no fun to lose your memory. Just ask anyone who suffers from a form of dementia or watched a loved one die from it. The good news is that science suggests that if you get to age 90 without developing dementia, the probability of development appears to decrease due to possible suppression of the gene responsible for it.

So if you are sitting down when you read this, it may be a good idea to get off your seat and jump up and down.  If you keep doing that long enough and as often as possible, you may remember this blog for many years to come. That would be nice, right?

Nu? So what are you waiting for? Get up and get moving! Now, before you forget how important it is to your future memory...


  1. Protein is a great brain food! Makes sense that it would be good for Alzheimer’s based on what I know about how much it can help develop the brain in general.

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