Exercising twice a week could help prevent dementia, research suggests

'Exercising might slow down the rate at which you would progress from mild cognitive impairment to dementia'

Olivia Petter
Thursday 28 December 2017 13:41

Working out twice a week may help stave off dementia, a new study has found.

The advice comes as the American Academy of Neurology update their guidelines for those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a medical condition that can lead to dementia.

While the two conditions are different - those with MCI have milder symptoms than those with dementia - they are closely related.


For example, those with MCI may struggle to complete difficult tasks while those with dementia might have trouble with simpler actions such as dressing themselves.

Other MCI symptoms include problems with language, memory and making judgements.

Both are commonly linked with ageing and the new guidelines suggest that regular aerobic exercise could help those with MCI manage their symptoms and prevent them from progressing.

This is because exercise can boost memory, according to six-month-long studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic research group.

“It's exciting that exercise may help improve memory at this stage, as it's something most people can do and of course it has overall health benefits," said lead author Ronald C. Petersen of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

He added that because of the strong links between MCI and dementia, an early diagnosis of MCI is crucial.

"Exercising might slow down the rate at which you would progress from mild cognitive impairment to dementia,” he said.

"If you or others have noticed that you are forgetful and are having trouble with complex tasks, you should see your doctor to be evaluated and not assume that it is just part of normal ageing.”

Peterson advises walking or jogging for 150 minutes a week if possible, ideally for 30 minutes five times or for 50 minutes three times.

However, people will see benefits just from two times, he added.

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