Her diagnosis got me thinking about just how blessed I am to still have my mental faculties at my advanced age.
If you’re interested in evaluating your own risk factor for developing dementia, a new study says that there is a way to assess your risk of developing dementia.
The study set out to determine whether you can gauge your risk of dementia based on your cardiovascular fitness.
The researchers gave a group of women a cycling test. They rode a bicycle until they were maximally fatigued to determine their fitness levels.
The women were then split into three groups: high, medium and low fitness based on their results.
During that 44-year follow-up, the women who ranked in the highest fitness level were 88 percent less likely to develop dementia than those in the medium fitness group.
If that’s not a reason to exercise, I don’t know what is!
To top it off, of the women in the high fitness group who still developed dementia, they were diagnosed, on average, 11 years later than those in the medium and low fitness groups. That means that being fit helped them stave off the disease much longer.
Fortunately, it’s simple to determine your cardiovascular fitness level to see if you’re at risk for dementia.
The simplest way is to use a fitness band or smartwatch, such as a Fitbit, that has heart rate monitoring and built-in cardio fitness scores.
Or you can DIY it by using the Rockport Walk Test.
To perform the test, first warm up and then walk a mile as fast as you can. You can do the test on a treadmill or outside, whichever you choose. You’ll need to record your time for the walk as well as your heart rate at the end of the exercise. Enter them into a Rockport One-Mile Walk Calculator to determine your fitness level.
If you’re cardiovascular fitness is low to medium, you could have a much higher risk of dementia. If you’re a woman, your risk is already much higher than any man’s. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women. So it’s important that you take immediate steps to lower your risk.
• Get more exercise — Just like poor fitness can be an indicator of dementia risk, getting in shape could help you prevent the disease. Set a time to exercise every single day.
• Maintain a healthy weight — Obesity vastly increases your risk of dementia, so start working today to get rid of those extra pounds on your hips, thighs and belly.
• Focus on your diet — Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats, salt and sugar, which can increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and dementia.
• Reduce alcohol — Drinking too much alcohol can damage your nervous system, including your brain. Stick to no more than five drinks a week and be sure to incorporate several alcohol-free days each week.
• Support your brain — Support healthy brain aging by taking a high quality Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) supplement along with CoQ10.
• Optimize your mental clarity — Sixty-four scientific studies have proven Phosphatidylserine to be the single best nutrient for rejuvenating your mind and memory. The one I recommend is Peak PS™.