A study conducted at McMaster University in Canada suggests that sedentary behavior in aging adults can put them at risk for dementia. Dementia is typically viewed as a more genetically linked disease, with adults who possess the Apolipoprotein E(APOE) e4 gene having a three times higher likelihood of developing the disease than those without the gene. However, this study suggests that sedentary behavior in seniors without the gene can cause a similar likelihood to suffer from dementia as those who do possess the gene.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, older adults should engage in around 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, every week. However, research shows that older adults typically spend about 9.4 hours a day sedentary, which accounts for 65-80 percent of the time they spend awake per day.
The researchers at McMaster University conducted their research by observing 1,646 older adults over the course of five years. These adults were a part of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging and all presented dementia free at the study's baseline. Of the adults who did not possess the APOE e4 gene, those who presented more sedentary lifestyles demonstrated a higher likeliness to have developed signs of dementia, than those who engaged in exercise.
The good news in these findings is that they suggest that if adults who do not possess the APOE e4 gene live an active lifestyle that include exercising, they are at less of a risk of developing dementia. Though doctors cannot concretely suggest a specific type of exercise that is best for preventing dementia, as long as you avoid a majorly sedentary lifestyle, your chances of developing the disease are lessened.