Less Active People May Have an Increased Risk of Dementia
The Journals of Gerontology published a study using data from the Framingham Heart Study—formerly the National Heart Institute—found that over time, the least active 20% of people had a higher risk of having dementia than their more active peers. However, this link between exercise and dementia risk was limited to those who did not carry the high-risk gene associated with late-onset Alzheimer’s. The study looked at data from 3,714 people.
Increasing Exercise Capacity Reduced Dementia Risk
Research published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found an 8% reduction in dementia risk for every one metabolic equivalent (MET) increase in exercise capacity. MET is the estimation calories a person burns during physical activity relative to the mass of that person. An individual’s resting metabolic rate is considered one MET. The study analyzed data on over 6,100 veterans over 10 years.
Health Club's Role in Preventing Dementia
Health clubs have a clear role in helping this and future generations of older adults hedge their bets against dementia. The WHO guidelines on dementia prevention emphasize living a healthy lifestyle. Something health clubs are well equipped to do to help their communities.
Fitness facilities are a great place to be physically active and build exercise capacity. Also, research has linked physical activity to lower blood pressure, better glucose control, and more favorable cholesterol numbers, all factors that the WHO says can help prevent dementia.
Many clubs also offer opportunities for cognitive activities—like social activities and games for older adults—which the Neurology study also linked with lower dementia risk.
In addition to offering a safe place to exercise, clubs help their members find and sustain healthy diets that work for them. Clubs that provide nutrition services with a registered dietitian help their members maintain control of their weight, blood sugar, blood glucose, and blood pressure.
To learn more about offering nutrition expertise in the club, check out The Important Role Diet & Nutrition Play at Your Gym or our e-book on Leveraging Nutrition Expertise at Your Health Club.