When it comes to changing your lifestyle, it’s better late than never—at least according to a study published in the journal Neurology. Apparently, people who start exercising at an age as late as 80 may still find themselves at a lower risk for Alzheimer’s Disease than those who opt to stick to their sedentary lifestyle.

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Researchers recruited 716 participants from the Rush Memory and Aging Project who were, on average, 82 years old and were free of dementia. To measure their level of physical activity, they were asked to wear an actigraph on their non-dominant wrist for 10 days. They were also asked to take an annual cognitive exam to check for mental health.

Over an average of 3.5 years, 71 of the participants went on to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers found that those who belonged to the bottom 10 percent for daily physical activity were 2.3 times more likely to have the mentally crippling disease than those who belonged to the top 10 percent. Similarly, those at the bottom 10 percent for intense physical activity were 2.8 times more likely to have Alzheimer’s Disease than those from the top 10 percent.

While the study shows that setting time aside for exercise is important, it also supports the theory that even simple physical activities like cooking, doing household chores, or even pushing a wheelchair may already lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.


(Screen cap of Betty White in Hot in Cleveland courtesy of TV Land; used for illustrative purposes only.)

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