Housework, exercise and social visits are associated with a reduced risk of dementia

Summary: The study revealed that performing housework, exercise and social interactions significantly reduces the risk of developing dementia.

source: AAN

Physical and mental activities, such as housework, playing sports, and visiting family and friends, may help reduce the risk of developing dementia, according to a new study published in the July 27, 2022 online issue of Neurology.

The study looked at the effects of these activities, as well as mental activities and use of electronic devices in both people with or without a higher genetic risk of dementia.

“Many studies have identified potential risk factors for dementia, but we wanted to learn more about a wide range of lifestyle habits and their potential role in dementia prevention,” said study author Huan Song, MD, of Sichuan University in Chengdu. , China. “Our study found that exercise, housework, and social visits are associated with a reduced risk of various types of dementia.”

The study included 501,376 people from a UK database without dementia with an average age of 56.

Participants filled out questionnaires at the start of the study, including questionnaires about physical activities. They were asked how often they participated in activities such as climbing stairs, walking, and participating in strenuous sports. They were also asked about housework, job-related activities and the type of transportation they used, including walking or cycling to work.

Participants completed another questionnaire about mental activities. They were asked about their level of education, whether they attended adult education classes, how often they visited with friends and family, visited bars, social clubs or religious groups, and how often they used electronic devices such as playing computer games, watching television, and talking on the phone.

In addition, participants reported whether they had any immediate family members with dementia. This helped researchers determine if they had a genetic risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Study participants were followed for an average of 11 years. At the end of the study, 5,185 people had developed dementia.

After adjusting for multiple factors such as age, income, and smoking, the researchers found that most of the physical and mental activities studied showed an association with the risk of developing dementia. Importantly, the results remain after considering the high correlates and interactions of these activities.

This shows the elderly talking
The researchers found that all participants benefited from the protective effect of physical and mental activities, whether or not they had a family history of dementia. The image is in the public domain

People who engaged most in activity patterns, including repetitive exercise, household chores, and daily visits to family and friends were 35%, 21%, and 15% less likely to develop dementia, respectively, compared to people who engaged least in these activity patterns. .

The researchers also looked at rates of dementia by specific activity patterns. The rate for people who exercised frequently was 0.45 cases per 1,000 people per year compared to 1.59 for people who rarely exercised. A person’s years takes into account the number of people studying as well as the amount of time spent studying.

Those who did housework frequently had a rate of 0.86 cases per 1,000 people per year compared to 1.02 for people who rarely did housework.

People who visited family daily had an average of 0.62 cases per 1,000 people per year compared to 0.8 cases for those who visited friends and family only once every few months.

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“Our study found that by engaging more frequently in healthy physical and mental activities, people may reduce their risk of developing dementia,” Song said. More research is needed to confirm our findings. However, our results are encouraging that making these simple lifestyle changes may be beneficial.”

The researchers found that all participants benefited from the protective effect of physical and mental activities, whether or not they had a family history of dementia.

One limitation of the study was that the subjects reported their physical and mental activity, so they may not have remembered and reported these activities correctly.

Financing: The study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, and the National Geriatric Clinical Research Center.

About this research dementia news

author: Natalie Conrad
source: AAN
Contact: Natalie Conrad – AAN
picture: The image is in the public domain

original search: The results will appear in Neurology