Boosting mental and physical activity can keep you strong as you age

As the elderly population in the United States continues to grow, more people are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease every day, and the number is expected to rise to 13 million by 2050. A new study looks at how lifestyle factors, particularly physical and mental activities, affect the brain’s thought reserve and influence the mental aging process.

The study gave one point for each mental activity (including reading, playing cards or games, and going to class) with a maximum of three points. For every additional mental activity over three, women reduce aging in their mental processing by 10 years. For men, it was 17 years old.

“It is still either too early or too late to engage in both physically and mentally stimulating activities,” says Jodi Ba, researcher and study author. luck. “It’s also a good idea to try new activities to continue to challenge the brain, mind, and body to learn and adapt.”

Women were more likely to engage in social activities in groups than men, which may explain the differences between the sexes. Ba says that group activities that include a social component, learning a new language or skill, or trying a new game are useful activities to try.

The researchers also concluded that increased mental activities were associated with faster thinking speed in both men and women, and increased memory stores in women only.

the study, released by the American Academy of Neurology on July 20, analyzed the brain scans of 758 individuals with an average age of 76. The study also tested the participants’ thinking speed and calculated their “cognitive reserve,” described as the ability to have strong thinking skills even when an individual suffers from dementia or cognitive decline. The researchers compared these scores with the participants’ weekly physical activity levels and mental activity.

The study found that physical activity was associated with faster thinking speed in women, but not in men, while physical activity was not associated with increased memory reserves for either men or women. The study authors found that impairment of initially recorded physical activity would reduce 2.75 years of aging from women’s lives as it relates to treatment speed..

Women are more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease than men, and they compensate thirds of cases. This is likely due to a more complex set of biological and societal factors related to hormone levels and the stress of aging, Ba says. It is therefore important to study how physical and mental activity affects men and women differently, but Ba suggests that more research is needed to determine any association between physical activity, mental activity and cognitive reserve in men versus women.

“What types of activities, how often, and for whom are the areas of active research in Alzheimer’s disease,” Ba says. “finally, [increasing mental activity] It is a favorable relationship between women and men and provides new avenues for behavioral therapies to combat Alzheimer’s risk.”

While lifestyle changes are shown to slow or prevent cognitive decline, more research is needed to study differences by sex empirically, he says. Stephen Rao Professor of Neurology and Director of the Schey Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging at Cleveland Clinic. It pays for more pilot studies, testing an equal number of men and women, and an equal number of people at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

“There is good evidence that physical activity and higher levels of mental activity protect the brain,” says Rao, noting that people who exercise are more likely to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, which over time can reduce the overall number of people living with disease and dying. .