Wednesday Wisdom. Walk this number of steps to cut your risk of dementia

Want to reduce your risk for dementia? A recent study in JAMA (Journal of Medical Association) found that people between the ages of 40-79 who walked on the average 3,800 and 9,800 steps each day reduced their risk of mental decline

9,826 steps per day for 50% reduction in dementia

The study found that people who took 9,826 steps per day were 50% less likely to develop dementia within seven years. In addition the study also found that people who walked with “purpose” — meaning at a pace over 40 steps a minute were able to cut their risk of dementia by 57% with less number of of steps – just 6,315 steps a day.

The study found exercise boosts levels of a protein known to strengthen communication between brain cells via synapses, which may be a key factor in keeping dementia at bay.

Focus on brisk walking over long strolls for best benefits

The research found that people looking to reduce their risk of dementia should focus more on their walking pace over the distance walked.

“Our take is that intensity of stepping matters. Over and above volume.” Borja del Pozo Cruz adjunct associate professor at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark, and senior researcher in health sciences for the University of Cadiz in Spain.

Brisk Walking is most effective

The largest reduction in dementia risk of 62% was achieved by people who walked at a very brisk pace of 112 steps per minute for 30 minutes a day. Walking approximately 2.7 miles per hour is considered “brisk” or moderate level of intensity.

“It is a brisk walking activity, like a power walk that’s most beneficial.” said study coauthor Borja del Pozo Cruz.

Even 3800 steps a day can be beneficial

Even people who walked approximately 3,800 steps a day at any speed cut their risk of dementia by 25% the study found. According to professor del Pozo Cruz even this would be enough at first for people who don’t exercise at all.

Use technology to track your pace and steps

Today there are so many way in which technology can be used to track the number of steps and pace. These types of metrics can help us get the most out of our exercise with the best outcome for our health.

Dementia can be kept at bay

According to del Pozo Cruz dementia is preventable to a great extent. He explained how physical activity along with lifestyle behaviors such as lack of alcohol and smoking, maintaining a healthy diet and weight, and getting a good nights sleep can all lead us on the right track to avoid dementia or at best keep it at bay.

Put on your step counter and start counting your steps.
Aim for 3,800 to 9,800 steps each day to reduce your risk of mental decline.

Association of Daily Step Count and Intensity With Incident Dementia in 78 430 Adults from JAMA

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