By: Dr. Keith Darrow, PhD, CCC-A

Most people do not like to run. I get it. I’m one of those people too. But what if you were told that running and/or walking ~7 or more miles per week could reduce your risk of dying from dementia by up to 40%? Perhaps now you might agree - this might make running suck a bit less! What if you had a partner, like to help you develop a strategy to become more physically and mentally fit? 

In a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, researchers delved into various factors influencing the risk of dying from Alzheimer's disease. The study, spanning over 11 years and involving more than 154,000 participants who were runners and walkers, unveiled compelling insights into lifestyle choices and their impact on Alzheimer's risk.

Throughout the course of the study, people reported their dietary habits, with a focus on daily fruit consumption, and disclosed their weekly running or walking routines. Here are some of the key findings.. 

1. Run to Reduce! The study emphasized the profound benefits of running. Those covering over 15 miles per week demonstrated a 40% lower risk of dying from Alzheimer's, shedding light on the correlation between physical exercise and a diminished risk of dementia. Even those running between 7.7 and 15.3 miles weekly experienced a 25% decreased risk. Notably, the study highlighted that individuals who spent double the time walking (compared to runners) reaped similar cognitive benefits.

2. Fruit Powers the Brain! Embracing a diet rich in fruits, particularly those consuming three or more servings daily, showcased a parallel 60% lower risk of death from Alzheimer's disease. Notably, berries and apples have been singled out in multiple studies for their connection to decreased cognitive decline and enhanced brain health.

3. Statins - Good for the Heart & Mind! Individuals using statins, medications designed to manage high cholesterol, exhibited a remarkable 60% lower risk of death from Alzheimer's. This aligns with my earlier article on the links of statins and reduced risk of dementia. 

From this remarkable study come 3 simple and straightforward recommendations:

1. Find Your Exercise Balance: While running over 15 miles per week showcases benefits, it's essential to consider individual factors and preferences. Weight resistance training emerges as an effective alternative, demonstrating comparable dementia risk reduction without the high impact on the body. Tailor your exercise routine to your health status and preferences, keeping in mind the holistic benefits that extend beyond physical fitness to brain health. Whether you choose running or another form of exercise, the key is to stay active and enjoy the cognitive rewards.

2. Embrace a Fruitful Diet: Incorporate berries and apples into your daily meals to harness their proven connection to cognitive well-being. For a free copy of my fruit-filled healthy recipe cookbook that keeps your body and mind healthy, visit:

3. Consider Statins: If you face cholesterol issues, consult your healthcare provider about the potential benefits of statin treatment. However, don't neglect the significance of maintaining a healthy diet to enhance overall cholesterol levels.

Cheers - I will keep an eye out for you on the track and in the fruit aisle at the grocery store! 

-Dr. Keith Darrow, PhD, CCC-A

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