On Tuesday, I broke some bad news for brain health involving a popular class of drugs called anticholinergics. (Which we now know can plant the seeds of dementia as many as two decades before the first symptoms turn up.)
So today, I’d like to balance that out with a little good news: There’s actually a lot you can do to slam the brakes on cognitive decline. And it doesn’t have to be particularly expensive or complicated.
In fact, sometimes it’s literally as easy as riding a bike…
Get this: Swedish researchers recruited 191 women with an average age of 50 for a cardiovascular fitness assessment using a bicycle-based exercise test. Based on their fitness levels, they were then classified as the following:
- 40 women were considered to be “highly fit”
- 92 fell into the “medium” fitness category
- 59 fell into the “low” fitness category.
Researchers tested the women for dementia six times over the next 44 years. The researchers found the following percentages of the women went on to suffer cognitive decline:
- 5 percent of the highly fit women
- 25 percent of the moderately fit women
- More than 30 percent of the women in the low fitness category
All in all, highly fit women were 88 percent less likely to be diagnosed with dementia compared to moderately fit women. And if they did go on to develop the disease? Symptom onset was 11 years later — at age 90 as opposed to age 79 — on average.
Meanwhile, a staggering 45 percent of the women (nearly half of the study group) who had to stop their exercise test — due to problems involving high blood pressure or chest pain — went on to develop dementia in the decades that followed.
This study is far from perfect. For starters, it wasn’t especially large, and researchers only evaluated fitness levels once. But the results send a pretty clear message, nevertheless. And women everywhere need to be paying attention.
Heck, everyone needs to be. Because while this research may have focused on female fitness, regular physical activity is a proven game-changer for both genders.
I really can’t stress this enough: The great thing about exercise is that anyone can do it. But we all have to start somewhere — even if it’s just a walk to the end of the block and back.
Any exercise is better than none at all. But as this research shows, a solid commitment to staying as fit as possible pays off in ways that go way beyond your clothing size. The fact is, taking care of your body is hands down the best thing you can do for your mind, too.
For more natural ways to protect and restore your memory as you age, check out my Drug-Free Protocol for Reversing Alzheimer’s and Dementia. To learn more or sign up, click here.