Results from a new study show that simple activities such as cleaning and housework may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, even in people over the age of 80.
The study by neurological researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago was published in Neurology on April 18.
“The results of our study indicate that all physical activities including exercise as well as other activities such as cooking, washing the dishes, and cleaning are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Aron S. Buchman, lead author of the study and associate professor of neurological sciences at Rush.
The Alzheimer's Society commented: 'It is well established that regular physical exercise is an important way to reduce your risk of developing dementia. It can reduce the risk by up to 45 per cent.
Adding: “This study adds to this evidence and suggests that simple things like cooking and cleaning can also make a difference.”
Researchers asked 716 people without dementia with an average age of 82 to wear a device which monitors activity on their non-dominant wrist to measure exercise and physical activity.
The research showed that the least active were more than twice as likely to develop the disease as those who were most active.
“Since the actigraph was attached to the wrist, activities like cooking, washing the dishes, playing cards and even moving a wheelchair with a person’s arms were beneficial,” said Buchman.
“These are low-cost, easily accessible and side-effect free activities people can do at any age, including very old age, to possibly prevent Alzheimer’s.”