Spin class

In recent years, when it comes to monitoring your progress in the gym, chances are there’s been a shift from the number of miles you can pound out on a treadmill to the amount of weight you can shift at the squat rack.

But, although resistance training has multiple benefits – it can help with weight loss and the loss of belly fat, for starters – and can get the heart rate pumping, sometimes doing some good old fashion cardio is just the ticket.

And, if new research from Sweden is anything to go by, there’s even more reason why you should be making time for a spin sesh or getting clued up on how to start running.

According to a study published in the medical journal Neurology, the higher your cardiovascular fitness and stamina, the lower your dementia risk.

The team of researchers measured 191 women, aged 38-60, and found that those who performed top during an ergometer cycling test, where workload was measured, based on the amount of resistance that could be added before fatigue, had a whopping 88% lower risk of dementia. In comparison, of those women in the low- and medium-cardiovascular fitness groups, 23% and 45%, respectively, went on to develop dementia.

A high level of fitness stamina was also showed to significantly delay dementia onset.

But why should you worry? Well according to Young Dementia UK, 850,000 people currently live with the condition in the UK alone. Plus, figures from the World Health Organization reveal that 10 million new cases of dementia are diagnosed every year.

More worryingly though is the prevalence of young onset dementia (which refers to dementia that occurs from the age of 30). Although figures state this to currently affect 42,325 people in the UK, the Young Dementia UK believes this figure could actually be as much as twice that amount, due the difficulties of diagnosing the condition.

With increasing research showing the impact of lifestyle on your likelihood to develop the condition, taking action now could make a significant difference.

The reason? It’s partly down to the fact that the brain has so many blood vessels. By increasing blood circulation through exercise, you’ll also be upping the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the brain, keeping it ticking along nicely.

Other ways of supporting your brain health? You can also prevent brain drain with the Mediterranean Diet and, if you’re partial to the occasional tipple, here’s why running can help protect your brain from alcohol damage. 

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