A study published in Neurology , April 10, 2018 has presented findings which add to an ever growing body of research that connects heart health to brain health. High levels of cardiovascular fitness during middle age may lower the likelihood of dementia in later life. It appears that keeping fit in midlife is a sound strategy for arresting cognitive decline.
The details of the study
The recently published study asked 191 middle aged women to ride a bicycle until they were exhausted. The women were then grouped according to their peak cardiovascular capacity. Just 40 women met the criteria for high levels of fitness. 92 were in the medium category and 59 were in the low category. Here are the most interesting details of the study; Over the next 44 years, the women were tested for dementia 6 times. Five percent of the highly fit women developed dementia, compared with 25% and 32% respectively for those in the moderate and low fitness groups. According to these figures, highly fit middle aged women were 88% less likely to develop dementia than even the moderately fit women.
These numbers are at once alarming and encouraging. While the numbers do not prove that high levels of fitness prevents dementia, they do show a hugely encouraging correlation between the two. By remaining highly fit in the middle age period, one has reduced the statistical likelihood of developing cognitive decline quite significantly.
What can you do if you are ‘Middle-Aged’ and want to become fitter?
If you are Middle-Aged (let’s suggest approximately 58) and want to become fitter , there are a multitude of simple practical things to consider. At www.personalhealth.ie we provide an initial assessment to find out your medical history, medications, injury history, functional movement screening and exercise history (if indeed there is one!). This assessment provides a baseline from which we can work from. Everybody has a different health/illness background, a different physical profile and differing levels of access, time and motivation.
Barriers to exercise and improvement
For the vast majority of our clients in Personal Health, they have overcome big barriers to even set foot inside our door. Examples of this may be a recent illness or injury, a chronic health issue or those dealing with progressive health conditions. Often they are working full time and trying to manage family demands, financial challenges and their own personal health. Two of the most common barriers to improving exercise (and therefore overall health) are accessibility and knowledge.
Accessibility and Knowledge
It is difficult to get immediate access to experienced healthcare professionals. Essentially the greater the levels of experience, it seems the more elusive they are. At personalhealth.ie we have arranged our schedules in a transparent way, shared with the public on our online booking system (insert link). Why not book an initial consultation now with one of our team, and begin that journey to better physical health, improved mental health and a longer term investment in protecting your cognitive health.