Good news from the United States shows the percentage of adults over 65 with dementia is decreasing each decade.

Similar reductions have been recorded in the UK and Europe. The reason for the decline has yet to be discovered and is thought to reflect many things. This includes better education (keeping the brain active from an early age), better nutrition and better living conditions.

Another factor, which helps, is regular exercise. Evidence shows that thinking and memory capability increases with activity at all ages. Trials in older people found that doing 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week led to improved mental functioning, which persisted for over 12 months if the person stopped.

Resistance training improves executive functions (higher thinking and abstraction), whilst aerobic exercise helps verbal memory. So, it is good to mix resistance and aerobic exercise. In addition to exercise, mental stimulation (crosswords puzzles reading) and social activities also reduce dementia risk, as does eating a brain health diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.

A Finnish study of 1260 people found a 40% improvement over two years in cognition scores for those who combined regular exercise, a good diet, mental stimulation and social engagement. This is impressive. All these measures are simple and inexpensive. You can do much to reduce your chances of dementia – start today!