Everyone knows that maintaining a healthy lifestyle has benefits in all areas of life, but regular exercise in particular has great significance. New research specifically highlights the importance of engaging in physical activity in your 40’s, as being in shape during this time may lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia later on.

The scale of this study is powerful – almost 20,000 participants were tested for fitness levels in middle age and tested for signs of dementia an average of 24 years later at 70, 75, 80, and 85. Those who showed greater physical fitness in middle age were less likely to develop dementia later in life than the participants who were not as fit.

These findings are quite positive in terms of getting people moving towards healthier lifestyles, but are also relatively broad when trying to understand the causal relationship between midlife exercise and later brain functioning. For example, it is still not clear how much exercise is needed to see these benefits or even if the exercise or fitness level are at all the specific factors that protect the brain.

In general, it is advised that the average adult get 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity during the week, although most Americans fall short of those goals. Possibly one of the most important things to take away from this study is the very real importance and impact of getting enough exercise in every stage of life. We might never be able to prevent Alzheimer disease and dementia completely, but if there is a way to reduce your risk that has marked benefits across the board, you have nothing to lose and a world of health to gain. So get up and find an exercise you enjoy and let your life of fitness – mentally and physically – begin today.

Read the entire article here: Exercising at Midlife May Stave Off Dementia Down the Road

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