Regular exercise of any type, from walking the dog to mountain climbing, during middle ages is the best lifestyle change a person can make to prevent cognitive decline in later years, a landmark 20-year study has found.
Recent research shows abnormalities in brain tissue begin several decades before the onset of cognitive decline, but little is known about the lifestyle factors that might slow the onset of decline in middle age.
As the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis doubles every five years after 65, most longitudinal studies recruit participants over the age of 60 or 70.
The new study by University of Melbourne tracked 387 Australian women for two decades. The women were aged 45-55 when the study began in 1992.