STICKING to just a few healthy habits may cut your chance of developing dementia by up to a third, a new study suggests.
How often you see your friends and clean your flat could impact your chances of developing dementia – the UK's second most deadly disease.
Regular exercise, completing household chores, and visiting family and friends were all found to be good ways to reduce your risk of dementia.
The study found that regular exercise was in fact the most effective way of warding off dementia.
People who engage in any physical activity, such as climbing a flight of stairs, walking, and participating in strenuous sports have a 35 per cent lower risk of dementia, compared with those who don’t, the study revealed.
Meanwhile, job related activities – which can involve both physical and mental energy – have been shown to reduce chances of developing dementia by 21 per cent.
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Researchers tracked the social and physical habits of half a million people for 11 years to figure out what activities reduced peoples chances of developing the killer disease.
These results followed other conclusions from another study that ultra-processed foods can significantly increase your risk of having dementia.
The study, published in the American Academy of Neurology, found that socialising with friends and family was also found to lower risk of dementia by 15 per cent.
The study involved participants completing several questionnaires on their physical and mental activities. They were also asked whether they had any immediate family members with dementia.
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 study author Huan Song, MD, PhD, of Sichuan University in Chengdu, China, said: “Our study has found that by engaging more frequently in healthy physical and mental activities people may reduce their risk of dementia.
“More research is needed to confirm our findings. However, our results are encouraging that making these simple lifestyle changes may be beneficial.”
Dementia is a general term used to describe the deterioration of a person's mental ability that is severe enough to interfere with their daily life.
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It is currently consider to be the second leading cause of death in the UK, followed closely by Ischaemic heart diseases.
Some early warning signs of dementia include: slowness of thought, difficulty with planning, trouble with language, problems with attention and concentration, mood or behavioural changes.
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