News - 14th May 2019

Global health experts recommend physical exercise to reduce your dementia risk


Did you know that by taking part in parkrun you are helping to reduce your risk of dementia?


New guidelines published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) this week have reinforced Alzheimer’s Research UK’s advice on dementia risk reduction including the importance of physical activity.


The WHO strongly recommends not smoking, physical exercise, controlling blood pressure and managing diabetes as ways to maintain brain health into later life.


Only 34% of people are aware that there are actions they can take to help reduce their risk of dementia such as taking part in regular exercise, including your weekly parkrun.


There’s a common misconception that dementia is just a natural part of aging and is therefore inevitable. But research has shown that it’s caused by brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, and through research we can overcome them.


Age is the biggest risk factor for many of the diseases that cause dementia ­– the older you get the more likely you are to develop them. The genes you inherit from your parents can also play a role in increasing your risk.


But while you can’t change your age or your genes, this report shows that there are simple lifestyle actions you can take to help stack the odds in your favour.


So what can you do?


The good news is you don’t have to do anything complicated, just follow a few simple steps. And if you’re regularly running at your local parkrun then you’re already on the right path.


Risk factors for cardiovascular disease (like heart disease and stroke) are also risk factors for dementia, so what is good for your heart is good for your brain. For good heart health:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Keep active and exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet.
  • Only drink alcohol within recommended guidelines (14 units a week).
  • Keep cholesterol and blood pressure at a healthy level.


For more information about reducing your risk of dementia click here.


You can help support pioneering dementia research, including studies focused on prevention and risk reduction – while also helping to reduce your risk of dementia – by taking part in Running Down Dementia, where we challenge you to run 100km before August 31 and raise £100. To sign up click here.

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