Run For Your Life
New research into Alzheimer’s disease suggests that running more than 15 miles a week may decrease the risk of dying from the condition. A study that was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease included data from more than 150,000 runners and walkers, male and female, who were recruited in the 1990s. After an average of about twelve years of study, results showed that those who ran more than 15.3 miles weekly had a 40 percent risk reduction in death from Alzheimer’s. The researchers noted that this study focused on the risk of dying from Alzheimer’s, not the risk of acquiring it.
Brain shrinkage, also known as cerebral atrophy, occurs naturally with age, and the degree of loss increases in the elderly. The authors of this study found that exercise of a certain level had a preventative effect on brain shrinkage, which in turn helps reduce the risk of death for those with Alzheimer’s.
Researchers found that walking could also decrease risk, but that the energy expended by walking had to be equivalent to the 15 or more mile run. They surmised that walkers would need to walk very quickly and go at least 50 percent further in distance to begin matching the rigor of the run.