Dementia news: THIS type of exercise for older people could help ward off memory loss

Dementia tends to affect the elderly - including one in 14 people over 65 years, and one in six people over 80.

Experts have suggested that older people who stay physically active could help protect their brain.

A new study has shed light on why memory loss - one of the main symptoms of the condition - may happen.

Research published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology revealed a link between older adults whose hearts pump less blood and their brain health.

When there was less blood supplied to the brain, the areas that controlled memory were particularly affected, scientists discovered.

The findings suggest that looking after your heart could also help protect your brain. 

“We know that the brain needs a healthy supply of blood to support its many activities, so it follows that if the heart is not functioning well, there will be knock-on effects for the brain,” said Dr David Reynolds, chief scientific officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“What is interesting about this study is that regions of the brain responsible for memory and particularly involved in Alzheimer’s disease, may be more vulnerable to reduced blood flow than other parts of the brain.”

To protect your brain against reduced blood flow, it could help to get your heart pumping more blood.

One of the ways to do this is through workouts that get your heart pumping.

This could include aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling.

The NHS recommend those over 65 years do 150 minutes a week of aerobic activity, alongside strength exercises.

“Although this study does not provide any new insights about dementia risk, it does add to the growing evidence that what is good for your heart is also good for your brain,” explained Reynolds.

“It is never too late or too early to start taking steps to support better heart and brain health. 

“Current research suggests that not smoking, keeping mentally and physically active, adopting a healthy diet, only drinking in moderation and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol can all help to limit our risk of dementia.”

Further studies are needed to better understand the relationships between heart function, brain health and the risk of dementia.