People who exercise regularly are more likely keep their thinking and memory skills as they age. In general, exercise means aerobic activity that increases your heart rate and breathing – this might be brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or vigorous cleaning and gardening. You should aim for moderate aerobic exercise for 20 to 30 minutes a day for five days per week1. If you jog, fast swim or cycle up hill, 15 minutes per day for five days will give you the same benefit1.
The findings of 15 studies show that exercise reduces the risk of poor brain health2, although there is no evidence yet that it improves brain health. It is likely that exercise helps prevent dementia by reducing the risks from obesity, high blood-pressure and heart disease 3 4 which are all linked to dementia.
In addition to aerobic exercise, it is important to build your strength – this might be digging in the garden or weight exercises, twice a week. The NHS has published some helpful national guidelines: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise. Always consider your level of health when planning your exercise routine – ask your GP if you have any concerns.