A recent study published in JAMA suggests that individuals who spend more than 10 hours a day being sedentary may have a higher risk of developing dementia. The study, which included nearly 50,000 participants aged 60 and above, found that being sedentary for about 10 hours a day was associated with an increased risk of dementia.
Dementia is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms caused by abnormal changes in the brain. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60% to 80% of cases, followed by vascular dementia. Sedentary behavior, defined as any waking behavior with low energy expenditure while sitting or reclining, was found to be linked with cognitive and structural brain aging.
While the study highlights a potential association between sedentary behavior and dementia risk, it does not establish causation. Further research is needed to determine the exact nature of this relationship. Experts recommend consulting with healthcare providers and gradually increasing physical activity levels to reduce the risk of dementia.
According to medical professionals, sedentary behavior may contribute to an increased risk of dementia through various interconnected mechanisms. Prolonged sitting reduces physical activity, which can lead to conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, all of which are known risk factors for dementia. Sedentary behavior also limits cognitive stimulation and social engagement, both of which are important for maintaining brain health.
To reduce the risk of dementia, experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise. Strength training exercises for major muscle groups are also important. It is crucial to consult with healthcare providers, set realistic goals, and choose activities that are enjoyable and sustainable.
Incorporating physical activity into daily life, such as taking breaks to stand or walk during sedentary periods, using stairs instead of elevators, or walking or biking to work, can also contribute to a more active lifestyle. Consistency, listening to one's body, and making gradual changes are key to improving overall health and potentially reducing the risk of dementia.
In conclusion, the study suggests a potential link between sedentary behavior and an increased risk of dementia. However, more research is needed to understand the exact nature of this association. Consulting with healthcare providers and gradually increasing physical activity levels are recommended strategies for reducing the risk of dementia.