Frequently do the houseworkwhich require physical and mental exercise, as well as participation in sporting activities and visits from family and friends, may help reduce the risk of developing dementia in old age, according to a study conducted by the Sichuan University (China).
The research, which was published in the journal Neurologyanalyzed 501,376 people with an average age of 56, who completed questionnaires informing them about their physical activities – such as climbing stairs, walking or playing sports -, household chores, work-related tasks, and the type of transport used for travel.
In addition, they also reported their mental activitieshow to take classes adult education or social clubs, how often they visit and receive visits from friends and family, and how much time they spend using their electronic devices, such as computer gameswatching TV or talking on the phone.
Visiting family and friends reduced dementia risk by 15%
After collecting all this data for an average of 11 years during the study, the researchers compared it to the cases diagnosed with dementia in participants, which was quantified in 5,185 cases. Taking into account other influencing factors, such as age, income and smokingit was observed that most of the physical and mental activities analyzed at work were related to dementia risk.
People who exercised frequently and performed regular household chores had a 35% and 21% lower risk of dementia
The results showed that those who exercised regularly, did regular household chores and visited family and friends daily were 35%, 21% and 15% less likely to develop dementia, respectively, compared to those who were less involved in these activities.
The authors also found that people who exercised frequently had a dementia incidence rate 0.45 cases per 1,000 person-years, compared to 1.59 for those who rarely exercised. Those who frequently did housework had a rate of 0.86 cases per 1,000 person-years, compared to 1.02 for those who did not. People who visited family daily had a rate of 0.62 cases per 1,000 person-years, compared with 0.8 cases for those who visited friends and family every few months.
“Our study found that by participating more frequently in healthy physical and mental activities, people can reduce their risk of dementia. Further research is needed to confirm our findings. However, our results are encouraging and suggest that these simple lifestyle changes can be beneficial,” said Huan Song, lead author of the study.