More Steps Leads to Reduced Dementia Risk - Study Shows

Those shoes were meant for walking, and that is what you should do. Research indicates that the more you walk, the more likely you can delay or avoid the onset of dementia.

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More Steps Leads to Reduced Dementia Risk - Study Shows
2 Min Read September 29th, 2022

Put those walking shoes on and start walking. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association- JAMA Neurology showed that walking 10,000 steps a day can cut the risk of dementia in half. Can't walk that far? That seems okay since just 4,000 daily steps can reduce dementia risk by a quarter.

Reviewing the data from 78,000 adults revealed that half an hour of walking at a brisk pace was associated with a 62% decline in the risk of dementia. Getting up and moving proved good in reducing the risk of cognitive decline.

The study's first author, Borja del Pozo Cruz, an adjunct associate professor at Southern Denmark University and a senior researcher in health at the University of Cadiz in Cadiz, Spain, said, "Faster steps" provide superior results.

Walking is associated with better vascular profiles, which is probably the clearest pathway through which steps may benefit dementia. Thus, it's likely that vascular dementia is the most preventable through physical activity.

According to the National Institute on Aging, vascular dementia refers to changes to memory, thinking, and behavior resulting from conditions that affect the blood vessels in the brain. Symptoms of vascular dementia can begin gradually or occur suddenly and then progress over time, with possible short periods of improvement. 

John Hopkins Medicine says that vascular dementia will become more common in the next few decades because of several factors, including:

  • Vascular dementia is generally caused by conditions that occur most often in older people, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), heart disease, and stroke.

  • The number of people older than 65 years is increasing.

  • People are living longer with chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Get Up and Walk

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has developed a 12-week walking schedule to help you get into the habit of walking. If you have been inactive for a while and are over age 40, it is best to speak with your doctor before starting a walking program.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., a Professor and Extension Specialist at North Dakota State University, says exercise, like walking, has other benefits.

Getting moderate exercise such as walking can enhance our mood while it strengthens our hearts and reduces our risk for diabetes, cancer and numerous other health issues.

Dementia Leads to Supervision and Long-Term Health Care

Dementia is one of the leading causes of long-term health care in the United States and globally. Long-term health care costs are exploding, creating financial distress for many families. However, often adult children must change their lives to become caregivers, something that they are neither trained nor prepared for at all.

Traditional health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, will not pay for the cost of long-term health care, including supervision, due to dementia. Medicaid will pay for long-term care services, but the individual must have little or no income and assets to qualify. Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for all types of long-term health care, but coverage must be purchased before a person's health begins to decline significantly.

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About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

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People require help with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia as they age and experience a decline in their health, mobility problems, dementia, or the frailty of aging. 

This reality of life has many consequences that affect our families and finances. You probably know that long-term health care costs are expensive. The cost of care services is rising rapidly nationwide. Are you prepared?

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