The good news about staying active continues to pile up.

With copious research published every year revealing profound and often surprising ways in which exercise can benefit daily life, both in the short term and long run, added incentive for people to work out more constantly makes headlines.

One of the latest comes from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis Missouri, which was published in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia and summarized in a recent article on Medical News Today.

According to the study, the benefit from just two and a half hours of exercise can delay the mental decline associated with a rare form of Alzheimer’s called autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease (ADAD).

Story author Catharine Paddock detailed some of the findings, writing:

The strongest risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease are things we cannot change. These are: age, family history, and inherited genes. 

However, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that we can alter the strength of these risk factors — by adopting healthful lifestyle strategies.

These strategies include following a healthful diet, continuing with social activities, not smoking, avoiding too much alcohol, and being physically and mentally active.

The recent findings, which now feature in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia, add to this evidence and suggest that it applies even to a form of Alzheimer’s disease that starts earlier in life. 

The investigators analyzed data on 275 DIAN study people, of average age 38.4 years, all of whom had a mutated gene for ADAD.

 Of these individuals, 156 were “high-active” — that is, they did more than the recommended 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours, per week of exercise such as walking, swimming, aerobics, and running. The “low-active” ones did less. … 

When they analyzed the data on physical activity and results of cognitive and other function tests and biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease, the team found that doing more than the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week was tied to “significantly better cognition and less Alzheimer’s disease pathology.”

Unfortunately, there are no foolproof solutions to life tragedies and terminal illness, but the knowledge of potentially circumventing, ameliorating, or delaying the subsequent negative effects is empowering. Hopefully it will continue to inspire activity amongst sedentary individuals and yield a better future in the process.

To read Paddock’s full writeup, click here.