Older men who walk more than 2 miles a day are less likely to experience dementia than those who are more sedentary, according to a study in the September 22/29 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (2004; 292 , 1447–53).
A group of 2,257 physically capable men ages 71–93 participated in the Honolulu–Asia Aging Study. Researchers logged the distances the men walked each day. Those who walked the least—less than a quarter of a mile a day—had a 1.8 times greater risk of dementia than those who walked 2 miles or more daily. The link between walking and decreased risk persisted even after accounting for the possibility that preclinical dementia might have impaired function. Researchers concluded that promoting active lifestyles could benefit late-life cognitive function.
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