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Get physical

Get physical
 

Enjoy physical activity

Any kind of physical activity you enjoy will do you good. Go for a brisk walk, have a swim or a dance or a cycle ride. Try and build physical activity into your daily routine – use the stairs, walk to the paper shop, get off the bus a stop early and walk the rest.

The evidence

Regular physical activity helps the blood flow to the brain. It also helps reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes, which are all risk factors for dementia.

A recent study showed that people who exercised three or more times a week had a 30% to 40% lower risk of developing dementia compared with those who exercised fewer than three times per week.

It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise. One study found that older men who walked more than two miles a day had nearly half the risk of dementia compared with those who walked less than quarter of a mile a day.

What should you aim at?

The recommended level of physical activity is to build up at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, most days. Moderate activity is something like brisk walking or strenuous gardening - enough to make you warmer and make your heart beat faster.

Try to build up gradually if you’re not used to being active.

How to achieve it

Small changes to your daily routine can make big differences. Do things that you enjoy:

  • Go for walks - no special equipment needed. Join a walking group if Join a walking group if you’d rather walk with others
  • Walk or cycle instead of taking the car, especially for short journeys
  • Gardening, washing the car or cleaning windows all count as activity
  • Get off the bus a stop or two earlier
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift whenever you can
  • Try something new like dancing or swimming or join a gym

See www.healthyliving.gov.uk/physicalactivity/ or phone the Healthy Living Advice Line - 0845 2 78 88 78 for more help with physical activity.

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