Study: Walking at least 10,000 steps a day reduces risk of dementia by as much as 50% By Zoey Sky for Natural Health
Walking is an accessible exercise for people of all ages. According to a study, doing it every day can help protect against dementia.
Findings published in the journal JAMA Neurology revealed walking at least 10,000 steps each day can reduce your risk of dementia by as much as 50 percent.
For the study, researchers monitored the steps of 78,430 adult volunteers aged 40 to 79 over the course of seven years. The results revealed that taking at least 9,800 steps per day could reduce the risk of dementia by 50 percent and there was no added risk reduction if participants went higher than that number.
Meanwhile, walking fewer steps daily, such as 3,800 steps or so, was found to also reduce the risk of dementia by as much as 25 percent.
Walking benefits the brain
He added vascular dementia is “the most preventable through physical activity.”
Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. It can affect your memory, concentration and thought processes.
Earlier studies have shown that aerobic exercises can help increase blood flow to the brain and improve memory function, so it makes sense that walking 10,000 steps daily can help reduce the risk of developing dementia by half.
Not a lot of people understand how simply going for a walk can greatly benefit both your physical and mental health. Previous studies have found that moderate exercise may help reduce the risk of dementia by a third, but this new study suggests that walking may be the best way to reduce your risk.
And walking 10,000 steps each day doesn’t just help lower your risk of developing dementia. It can also help reduce the risk of other health conditions like high blood pressure (hypertension) and heart disease. (Related: Octogenarians who walk at least an hour every week reduce their risk of dying from all causes by 40%.)
“Step count-based recommendations have the advantage of being easy to communicate, interpret and measure, and may be particularly relevant for people who accumulate their physical activity in an unstructured manner,” concluded the scientists.
Healthy lifestyle habits that can protect against dementia
There are many ways to reduce dementia risk, and this includes having healthy lifestyle habits, such as following a balanced diet and exercising regularly.
A study from the American Academy of Neurology investigated whether those with a higher genetic risk of dementia could reduce their chances of getting the condition.
For the study, scientists followed almost 12,000 volunteers for 30 years and scored them on how closely they followed the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7, which is a list of lifestyle habits linked to good cardiovascular health.
- Managing your blood pressure. Having healthy habits that help keep your blood pressure within a healthy range reduces the strain on your arteries, heart and kidneys.
- Controlling cholesterol. High cholesterol contributes to plaque which can clog your arteries and cause heart disease and stroke.
- Reducing blood sugar. High levels of blood sugar can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves.
- Exercising regularly. Many studies have found that exercising every day can help increase the length and quality of your life.
- Following a balanced diet. Eating nutritious meals is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease.
- Maintaining a healthy weight. Losing a few pounds and maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the burden on your heart, blood vessels, lungs and skeleton.
- Quitting smoking. According to studies, smokers have a higher risk of developing many serious health problems, including heart disease.