There is no need to exaggerate, undergoing overdoses that can stress the body. But you have to be regular. What matters is getting the body used to moving, day after day. The goal is to reach around 10,000 steps, but even less may be enough to see the risk of developing dementia or severe cognitive deficits drop.
Don’t believe it? Go and re-read what a large study published in Jama Neurology (first author Borja Cruz, lecturer at the University of Southern Denmark and the University of Cadiz). And you will understand, figures in hand, how taking a little less than 10,000 steps a day in adulthood offers the maximum reduction in the risk of developing dementia. Exaggerating, however, would not add much. If anything, it is important not to go down too far. However, for those who exceed 4000 daily steps, the advantages for neurological well-being are there. And how. The numbers prove it.
How many steps a day?
The study looked at a population of nearly 80,000 people aged between 40 and 79 (about 55% women) of the UK Biobank, monitoring them for just under seven years. Step ratings were obtained with special devices, wrist accelerometers.
The survey clearly shows that by keeping just below 10,000 steps per day, to be exact 9,826, the risk of dementia is halved in the following seven years. But it is confirmed how important the habit of walking is in any case.
Those who took an average of 3,800 steps per day still presented a 25% lower risk than the control population. In short: for those who really want to “play” on numbers it seems that the 7,000 steps may be the best, but it is only a mere statistical calculation.
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The intensity of the walk also counts
Obviously, the information deriving from the study only reports an association between walking and the appearance of cognitive deficits, without proposing possible causal mechanisms. But other interesting data also emerge from the survey: for example, it can be seen that even not approaching 10,000 but walking at a fast pace, there is still a very clear reduction in the risk of dementia.
Acceleration is important
The protective percentage, again in terms of the probability of developing the neurological problem, rises up to 57% for those who perhaps only take 6,300 steps a day, but with a pace of 40 or more steps per minute. Which means accelerating the walking speedthus inducing greater strain on the organism.
Finally, information for those who tend to train. Go easy, but without being heroes. Del Pozo Cruz reports that over 10,000 steps a day there is no such strong association. “I would say that the advantages are less clear, but perhaps no less significant – reports the expert”.
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Explaining why the habit of walking can be protective against dementia is not easy. But there is no shortage of observations on the subject, both on an experimental and clinical level.
“Many studies performed both on the animal model, the Alzheimer’s mouse, and on elderly subjects, show that physical activity, especially a 30-minute walk a day, reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease – confirms Massimo Tabaton, professor of Neurology at the University of Genoa. This study perfects the analysis methodology over time, thanks to a pedometer that allows you to precisely define the relationship between movement and risk “.
Walkers have a healthy lifestyle
Having said that obviously we have to think that those who have this good habit are more inclined to follow the rules of a healthy life, also in terms of lifestyles and nutrition, science is still trying to shed light on the mechanisms that could come into play.
“We are talking about hypotheses – concludes the expert. The increase in neuronal growth factors could come into play (as suggested by the first studies on mice) but also and above all a decrease in inflammation, which plays a not secondary role in degeneration neuronal “.
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