For the study, the research team looked at the effects of physical activity in people with early-onset autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease as there is not much research done on this particular illness. In conducting the study, the team investigated 372 individuals enrolled at the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network study.
They divided the participants into two groups -- high exercisers and low exercisers -- according to their level of physical activity. Then, the researchers examined the association of physical activity with cognitive performance, functional status, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer's disease biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults aged 18 to 64 to do at least 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both in a week.
The results of the study revealed that individuals who have high levels of physical activity exhibited significantly better cognitive and functional performance and significantly fewer signs of Alzheimer's disease in cerebrospinal fluid than individuals with low physical activity. High exercisers also scored higher on Mini-Mental State Examination at expected symptom onset compared with low exercisers. After 15.1 years, they were diagnosed with very mild dementia compared to those who do not exercise enough.
From these findings, the research team concluded that physical activity has beneficial effects on cognitive function and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease in individuals with early-onset autosomal dominant Alzheimer's. For individuals with this rare Alzheimer's disease, engaging in at least two-and-a-half hours of exercise each week may be helpful. (Related: Another reason to work out: Women who are physically fit in middle age reduce risk of dementia by 90%.)
"A physically active lifestyle is achievable and may play an important role in delaying the development and progression of ADAD. Individuals at genetic risk for dementia should, therefore, be [counseled] to pursue a physically active lifestyle," concluded the research team, as cited by ScienceDaily.com.
You can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's and, in some cases, slow its progression by:
Read more news stories and studies on the effects of physical activity on the development of Alzheimer's by going to Alzheimers.news.