Prime Health Daily

The Exercise Intensity + Dementia Link For Women

Here’s yet another trick that can help delay dementia for women.

To delay the onset of dementia by as much as 11 years, make sure to add regular physical activity to your daily lifestyle. Even better: High intensity physical activity in particular protects the brain against cognitive decline.

The Proof

In one study, researchers had women of different fitness levels exercise to exhaustion on a bicycle, measuring the output in watts. The women who scored the highest during this test, at about 120 watts, were 88 percent less likely to develop dementia. Women whose output was considered average or below average, however, were 45 percent more likely to develop dementia later in life.

So the intensity of your workout matters just as much as how long; national recommendations currently stand at 30 minutes per day for most days of the week.

Here are other key points to remember:

  • Interval training is very effective. Interval training, where periods of slow activity are intermixed with high-intensity activity, significantly improve something called high-interference memory.
  • It’s best to start in mid-life. If you’re in your 40s or 50s, developing healthy exercise habits matter now. These habits will lead to a healthier body, inside and out, in 10 to 20 years.
  • Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Not everyone can keep up with a high-intensity workout–and in fact, could be dangerous for some women. Get a doctor’s clearance before starting any sort of exercise regimen.

Remember, it’s never too late to get in shape–and protect your memory.