Physically fit women are less likely to develop dementia, claims a recent study conducted by the University of Gothenburg and published in American Academy of Neurology.
Women who are physically fit are up to 90% less likely to develop dementia in their lives, the University of Gothenburg concluded from their study. And if the fit women did develop dementia it was, on average, 11 years later in life.
A longitudinal study, spanning decades, measured fitness levels in women with an average age of 50. Average fitness levels were determined using VO2 max and power (watts) output. The average level of fitness they calculated, was 103 watts. To be considered “physically fit” power output needed to be at 120 watts or more. “Unfit” was 80 watts or less.
One interesting aspect of the study: as in most longitudinal studies, participants drop out as time goes on. In this study, 45% of the women who dropped out went on to develop dementia.
Some limitations of this study are:
- Small number of participants: Only 191 women at the start of the study
- Little randomization of participants: All of the women were Swedish
- Fitness levels measured only once, at the start of the study