According to the Alzheimer’s Society, around 850,000 people in the UK suffer from dementia – more than half of those with Alzheimer’s. The combination of ageing populations and lack of disease-halting therapies has fuelled the search for preventative measures. To date, lifestyle has been recognised as the most modifiable risk factor for the condition with a new study pointing to the power of certain household chores which could help to reduce your risk.
A new study has found that even mundane, low-key tasks like gardening, cooking and washing dishes can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s if they’re performed often enough.
The study, which was published in the journal Neurology, included 716 dementia-free men and women in their 70s and 80s.
Compared with the most active people, those with the lowest levels of overall physical activity had more than double the risk of going on to develop Alzheimer’s.
Greater physical activity was also associated with a slower rate of ageing-related memory and cognitive decline.
READ MORE: Blood cancer sufferer says diagnosis was ‘worse than anything I’d imagined’ – his symptoms
“This suggests that people in their 80s who can’t participate in formal exercise still get a benefit by leading a more active lifestyle,” said lead author Dr Aron S. Buchman, associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush University Medical Center.
He added: “You don’t have to get a membership in the local gym.
If you simply walk up some more steps, stand up and do the dishes more, you stand to benefit because it’s incremental and adds up over the course of a full day.”
Another Canadian study found older adults who spent more time on household chores showed greater brain size – a strong predictor of cognitive health.
The researchers found that certain household chores are capable of giving the human brain a workout to help prevent the condition.
Highlighting the benefits of household chores may motivate older adults to be more active by “providing a more realistic, low risk form of physical activity”, noted the researchers.
“Scientists already know that exercise has a positive impact on the brain, but our study is the first to show that the same may be true for household chores,” said study author Noah Koblinsky at Rotman Research Institute (RRI) at Baycrest in Toronto, Canada.
“Understanding how different forms of physical activity contribute to brain health is crucial for developing strategies to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults.”
The researchers found that older adults who spent more time engaging in certain household chores had greater brain volume, regardless of how much they engaged in the more strenuous forms of physical exercise including running.
Published at Sun, 19 Sep 2021 03:01:00 +0000
This story originally posted here