Aging: Hit the Health Club: Offset Dementia's Onset

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Being in poor physical shape may increase the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, a new study has found, and being fit may help delay the onset of the illnesses.

Researchers studied a group of more than 2,200 people over 65 and without dementia from 1994 to 1996, then followed them through October 2003, examining their mental abilities with standard tests and their physical performance with strength and agility tasks.

During the follow-up, 319 people developed dementia. Of them, 221 had Alzheimer’s. But the poorer their physical performance at the start of the study, even among people with no signs of dementia, the more likely they were to develop dementia.

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