(HealthDay News) – Higher total daily physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and with a lower rate of cognitive decline.

Aron S. Buchman, MD, of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, and colleagues conducted a prospective, observational cohort study involving 716 older persons without dementia whose total daily exercise and nonexercise physical activity, such as cooking, cleaning, or washing the dishes, was measured continuously for up to 10 days using actigraphy.

After an average follow-up of approximately four years, the researchers found that 71 individuals developed clinical AD. Those with a higher level of total daily physical activity were 53% less likely to develop AD. Furthermore, the rate of cognitive decline was slower with increased total daily physical activity. This link between AD and total daily physical activity remained, even after adjusting for motor function; depressive symptoms; chronic health conditions; APOE allele status; or self-reported level of physical, social, or cognitive activities.

“The current study extends prior work by using actigraphy in the community setting to circumvent recall bias and to provide an objective measure of both total daily exercise and nonexercise physical activity and determine its association with cognitive decline and incident AD,” the authors write.

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