Get ready to lace up your running shoes. New research suggests vigorous exercise helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer's. The study showed that running more than 15 miles a week may reduce your risk of dying from the disease.
"Exercise seems to prevent the shrinkage [in the brain] that occurs with age," said study researcher Paul Williams, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Berkeley, CA. And preserving brain volume may be why vigorous exercise helps reduce the risk of Alzheimer's death, according to Williams.
If running isn't your thing, don't worry. The study found that walking can help, too, if the amount of energy expended is equivalent to running more than 15 miles weekly.
What's more, the study found that of those who exercise, consuming three servings of fruit each day also lowered the risk of dying from Alzheimer's, as did taking cholesterol lowering drugs known as statins.
The study followed more than 153,000 runners and walkers who have been participating in the National Runners' and Walkers' Health Studies. Both men and women were recruited for the studies beginning in the early 1990s.
The participants were studied for an average of nearly 12 years. Over the follow-up, there were 175 deaths from Alzheimer's disease.
Those study participants who ran more than 15.3 miles a week reduced their risk of dying from Alzheimer's disease by 40%. Running between 7.7 and 15.3 miles was linked with a 25% risk reduction, but Williams said that finding wasn't statistically significant.
Find more information on Alzheimer's as well as support resources at http://www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com/.