Dementia is one of the most debilitating neurodegenerative disorders that can affect us and has the capacity to damage not only the affected individual but also their family and friends with its impact. As we age, the rates increase exponentially from a small percentage in our 60’s and 70’s, to 22% of adults age 85-89 and 33% of adults age 90 and older. What makes things worse is that the onset of dementia can come various sources depending on what damages the cells and connections in the brain. Azheimer’s, for example, has an accumulation of certain proteins within the brain that can create permanent damage. We all know it’s bad, right? The question has always been what can we do to prevent it from happening to ourselves and our loved ones?
The good news is that a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that prevention can be as simple as keeping moving. Specifically, the study found declines in dementia risk associated with the amount of steps that we take each day.
The lowest decline was found at 3,800 steps per day, which cut dementia risk by 25%. Those who walked closer to 10,000 steps per day were able to cut their risk by 50%, and those that walked that amount with “purpose”, i.e. walking at a speed of over 40 steps per minute, were able to cut their risk to 57% with only 6,315 steps per day. The largest reduction in dementia risk – 62% - was found in people who walked at a more brisk pace of 112 steps per minute for at least 30 minutes per day.
We all know that motion and exercise are good for us but so often we only attribute those benefits to our weight and appearance. How we move affects all aspects of our health and function as evidenced here. So the real question is, if you’re not moving this much every day, what’s stopping you? Is it your schedule or work that’s preventing you from doing it? Or is it pain, tension, muscle weakness, or some other form of dysfunction that’s preventing you?
If it’s the latter, then what are you doing to correct it? With chiropractic and physical therapy, we can help reduce pain, increase motion and improve function to allow your body to move the way and the amount that it’s supposed to. Remember that if pain is causing you to move less now it can affect your health significantly in the future. If the barrier to dementia in later years for ourselves or a loved one is 30 minutes of walking per day, we should be doing everything we can to achieve that!
We can help make that happen. If there is anything we can do to facilitate better movement or less pain in you or someone you know, please contact us today and we’ll help you accomplish your health goals and protect yourself from future issues.