International research from the University of California, San Diego, has found that there are actions that we can take, now, to reduce the chances of getting dementia when you’re older. The research has shown that by remaining active and frequently using the brain, actually slows down the ageing process.
The mental activities can be as simple as reading, doing crosswords/sudoku, playing cards/bingo or attending any classes, all work in slowing down ageing. If you add any regular, weekly, physical exercise that increases the heart rate for more than 15 minutes you can as slow ageing down by up to 13 years. Greater physical activity was found to be directly associated with improved thinking speed. As there are currently cures to Dementia/Alzheimer’s it is recognised that the best form of treatment is prevention or slowing down progress.
Preventative mental activities have proven to protect against dementia by one quarter, when compared to those who didn’t. These mental activities are even more effective than exercise to protect and stave off dementia. If you can combine mental and physical exercise you’re doing well. Mental activities, such as those mentioned already, can even include listening to the radio, or using a computer all help, as do creative activities. Hobbies help maintain and improve memory function.
Preventative exercise regimes should target about 150 minutes of moderate, intensity, exercise per week, such as a brisk walk or cycling a bike. These actions have continually proven very effective, time and again in all the dementia/ageing studies. If you can regularly play sports, yoga, swimming, dancing or walking, combined with an active social life, then you’re really helping your mind and body.
Research has also found that attending classes, joining clubs, volunteering, simply visiting friends or attending religious activities are all really important, as researchers believe that social contact and emotional stimulation both reduce the risk of loneliness and stress, two of the additional risk factors for dementia.