The Relationship Between Physical Activity and the Prevention, Delayed Onset and Slowed Progression of Dementia

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In recent years, dementia has become a major health problem worldwide due to the aging population, however according to current research, being physically active may have a positive impact in reducing the risk of dementia and slowing the associated cognitive decline (Laurin et al. 2001). The term dementia is used to describe over a hundred different diseases which are characterised by a progressive loss of brain function which may affect cognitive skills, language as well as memory and perception (Mechling 2008). Throughout aging only a small number of neurons and synapses diminish and this is a normal process, however, with dementia this effect is much more drastic (Farrow & Ellis 2013). With dementia becoming more and more prominent in …show more content…
To begin, one of the most common forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease and approximately 13% or 4 million of the cases worldwide have been attributed to people being physically inactive or in other words being considerably sedentary (Farrow & Ellis 2013). It has been stated that genetics and other non-modifiable risk factors have an undeniable influence on whether a person will develop dementia, but physical activity or inactivity has surfaced as a modifiable risk factor for dementia (Farrow & Ellis 2013). The word modifiable is defined by the Merriam-Webster (2014) online dictionary as being “capable of being readily changed”, thus meaning one can change the amount frequency, intensity and duration of their physical activity quite easily. In a study by Hamer & Chida (2008), they observed that being physically active as an adult in midlife can be a defensive factor against the risk of dementia in the later stages of life. Other research has noted that being physically active at any stage or age in life can aid in the prevention of dementia (Farrow & Ellis 2013). Therefore, one could conclude that being physically active throughout your entire life can affect your cognitive health as you age. To add research by Wang et al. (2006) found that higher levels of physical activity throughout one’s life may be correlated to a delayed onset of dementia or more specifically Alzheimer’s disease, while on the other hand one with lower levels of

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