Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – Want to reduce your risk of dementia? Click on the step counter and start recording your steps. And you’ll need to log between 3,800 and 9,800 steps a day to reduce your risk of mental decline, a new study finds.
The study found that people aged 40 to 79 who took 9,826 steps per day were 50% less likely to develop dementia over seven years. And people who walked at a pace of more than 40 steps per minute were able to reduce their risk of developing dementia by just 57% by taking 6,315 steps per day.
“It’s a brisk walking activity,” said study co-author Borja del Pozo Cruz, associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark, and senior researcher in health sciences at the University of Cadiz in Spain.
The study found that even people who walked about 3,800 steps per day, at a low rate of speed, reduced their risk of developing dementia by 25%.
“It’s going to be enough at first for people who don’t do a lot of movement,” del Pozo Cruz told CNN.
“In fact, it’s a message that doctors can use to motivate older people who don’t move much to do it, to get to 4,000 steps a day, and that also applies to people who are less physically fit or not very motivated,” he added. “Maybe, the most energetic and fitter people should do 10,000 steps, then we can see the maximum effect,” he added.
But the study came up with a more interesting finding that hasn’t been highlighted, according to an editorial titled “Is 112 the New 10,000 Steps?” Published in JAMA Neurology, Tuesday.
The study found that the largest reduction in dementia risk was 62%, achieved by walking at a very fast pace of 112 steps per minute for 30 minutes per day. Previous research has described 100 steps per minute as a “fast” pace or moderate intensity level.
The editorial discussed people looking to reduce their risk of dementia focus more on walking pace than distance.
“While ~112 steps per minute is rather fast paced, it is conceivable that 112 is easier to track and has a lower impact than 10,000 steps, especially if it is People are not physically active or generally inactive.
Okonkwo is an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, while Blanalp is a research scientist in Okonkwo’s lab.
“We agree that this is a very exciting discovery,” Del Pozo Cruz told CNN. “What we found is that the density of the steps is more important than the size of the distance, and technology can be used to track not only the number of steps but also the speed, and therefore these can also be combined types of metrics in commercial watches. But more research is needed on this.”
If you don’t have a pedometer, you can count the number of steps you take in 10 seconds and multiply by six, or the number of steps you take in six seconds and multiply by 10. But remember that not everyone’s stride lengths are the same, and neither are their fitness levels. And what may constitute a fast pace for a 40-year-old may not be sustainable for a 70-year-old.
inside the study
The study, also published Tuesday in JAMA Neurology, analyzed data from more than 78,000 people between the ages of 40 and 79 who wore an accelerometer. The researchers counted the total number of each person’s daily steps, then categorized them into two categories: less than 40 steps per minute, which equates to more than just movement, such as walking from room to room, and more than 40 steps per minute, or “purposeful” walking. The researchers also analyzed peak performance in those who took the most steps in 30 minutes during the day.
The researchers then compared that person’s steps with their diagnosis of any type of dementia seven years later. After checking their age, race, education, gender, social and emotional status, and the number of days they wore the accelerometer, the researchers also factored in lifestyle variables such as poor diet, smoking, alcohol use, drug use, sleep problems, and a history of cardiovascular disease. .
The study authors pointed out the limitations of the study in some aspects, the first of which was that it was based on observation only, which means that it cannot determine the direct cause and effect between walking and the decreased risk of dementia. The study also stated that “the age group of the participants may have resulted in limited cases of dementia, which means that our results may not be generalizable to the older population.”
“Given the often significant delay factor in diagnosing dementia, and because this study did not include formal clinical and cognitive assessments of dementia, it is possible that the community prevalence of dementia was significantly higher,” the authors added.
While agreeing that the findings cannot be explained as a direct cause and effect, Okonkwo and Blanalp write, “the growing evidence supporting the benefits of physical activity for maintaining optimal brain health can no longer be ignored.”
“The time has come to consider management of physical inactivity an essential part of routine primary care visits for older adults,” the researchers added.
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