A new analysis of the Framington study indicates that moderate to heavy physical activity results in a 45 percent reduced risk for dementia during more than 20 years of follow-up. Previous findings from the study point to several positive health outcomes from doing at the very least, moderate physical activity. These are: a reduced risk for stroke and cardiovascular disease, increased levels of HDL cholesterol, a reduced risk for colon cancer, and lower mortality rates. These findings were reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010. Moderate activity in this study was defined as doing housework, climbing stairs, to light sports such as golf and bowling. Heavy exercise was defined as heavy household work and exercises such as jogging. The Framingham study is an ongoing longitudinal, community-based sample of 5209 men and women living in Framington, Mass, which began in 1948, originally looking at cardiovascular risk factors. The participants are re-evaluated every two years. The dementia study began in 1975, with 3349 of the original participants, free of dementia at the time. They are also evaluated every two years.

 There seem to be several possible modifiable factors to reduce dementia and Alzheimer’s, but physical activity appears to be the one that keeps popping up in study after study. How do you want to live?

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.