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Alzheimer’s Disease and Fitness

There’s a connection between increased fitness and lower Alzheimer’s risk.

Older man running for Alzheimer’s Disease

Small increases in fitness are linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. That’s according to a longitudinal study with 649,605 veterans, as presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 74th Annual Meeting held in Seattle in April 2022.

Researchers at Veterans Administration Medical Center followed subjects for an average of 9 years. “One exciting finding of this study is that as people’s fitness improved, their risk of Alzheimer’s disease decreased—it was not an all-or-nothing proposition,” said lead study author Edward Zamrini, MD, adjunct professor of clinical research and leadership at the The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and physician at Washington VA Medical Center, Washington D.C. “[P]eople can work toward making incremental changes and improvements in their physical fitness and hopefully that will be associated with a related decrease in their risk of Alzheimer’s years later.”

Study limitations include the fact that most participants were white men, so results may not be generalizable to other individuals. More research is recommended.

See also: Cardio Benefits People at Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease



Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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