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Study links being active to a lower risk of dementia

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If you’ve been putting off chores, working out or even scheduling a lunch date, here’s motivation: Recent research shows that activities such as housekeeping, exercising, and visiting with family or friends may help lower your risk of developing dementia.

A team led by scientists at Sichuan University analyzed UK Biobank data for more than 500,000 people without dementia whose average age was 56. Participants completed questionnaires about their physical and mental activities, including household chores, job-related activities, social habits and electronic device use. They also answered questions about family history of dementia.

 

They were then followed for an average of 11 years. Overall, about 1% of the participants developed dementia. Frequent exercise lowered the risk of developing dementia by 35%, while regularly completing household chores and visiting daily with family and friends lowered the risk by 21% and 15%, respectively.

“Our study has found that by engaging more frequently in healthy physical and mental activities, people may reduce their risk of dementia,” study co-author Huan Song said in a press release. “More research is needed to confirm our findings. However, our results are encouraging that making these simple lifestyle changes may be beneficial.”

The study was published online in the journal Neurology.

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