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The “Leisurely” Way to END Dementia

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No one wants to get that call… You know, the one where your doctor tells you, “It’s dementia… and it’s not going to get any better.” That’s because this life-changing disease can slowly strip away your health and independence. You shouldn’t have to suffer through this horrible disease… and neither should anyone you love. Fortunately, new research shows there’s a “leisurely” way to END dementia before it starts. And it couldn’t be easier or more enjoyable… When was the last time you read a book? Or played a round of golf? Or spent time with your friends or family? If you answered recently… you’re already on your way to stopping dementia in its tracks! A new meta-analysis published in the journal Neurology shows that participating in leisure activities can slash your risk of dementia. For the research, scientists reviewed 38 international studies that included more than two million dementia-free participants who had been tracked for at least three years. During the study period, the subjects provided information about their leisure activities via surveys or interviews. The researchers divided these activities into three categories: mental, physical, and social. The researchers also tracked the participants’ dementia status.

Lowered Risk Of Dementia 23 Percent 

At the end of the study, the data showed that folks who engaged in leisure activities lowered their dementia risk by up to 23 percent, but not all activities provided equal benefit. For example:
  • Social activities – like taking a class, volunteering, or visiting with relatives or friends – lowered dementia risk by seven percent.
  • Physical activities – like walking, running, swimming, bicycling, playing sports, yoga, and dancing – lowered dementia risk by 17 percent.
  • Mental activities – like reading, writing, watching television, playing games, and making crafts – lowered dementia risk by 23 percent.1 
Imagine that… lowering your dementia risk by doing some of your favorite things! And this isn’t the first time some leisure activities have been the subject of dementia research.

Helps You Live Longer, Too 

A 2022 study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open showed that seniors who walk, swim, play sports or engage in other leisure activities can lower their risk of early death!2 "Previous studies have shown that leisure activities were associated with various health benefits, such as a lower cancer risk, a reduction of atrial fibrillation, and a person's perception of their own well-being," said study author Lin Lu, PhD, of Peking University Sixth Hospital in Beijing, China. "However, there is conflicting evidence of the role of leisure activities in the prevention of dementia. Our research found that leisure activities like making crafts, playing sports or volunteering were linked to a reduced risk of dementia."3

Make Time For Leisure 

The truth is, making time for leisure activities can be difficult. Between appointments, chores, and family obligations it can seem like there’s not much time for fun. But if you’ve been putting off reading a book… making a puzzle… grabbing lunch with a friend… or taking an exercise class… I hope you have fresh motivation. Getting “leisurely” could help you keep your mind razor-sharp well into your golden years. Having a hard time finding a leisure activity? Check with your local recreation center, health center, church/temple, museum, or community college. They offer classes, workshops, and group sports activities for people of all ages.

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