According to a meta-analysis, leisure activities, which include yoga, reading a book, and hanging out with friends and family, could help in reducing dementia risk. The meta-analysis examined existing research on the effects of social activities, physical activities, cognitive activities, and dementia risk.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
Prior research has revealed that leisure activities were linked to a variety of health benefits, which include a reduction of atrial fibrillation, a reduced cancer risk, and an individual’s perception of their own well-being. There’s however conflicting evidence of the part that leisure activities play in preventing dementia. This research revealed that leisure activities such as volunteering, playing sports, or making crafts were associated with a reduction in dementia risk.
The meta-analysis consisted of a review of 38 worldwide studies that involved more than two million dementia-free individuals. The individuals were monitored for a minimum of 3 years.
Information on leisure activities was provided by means of interviews or questionnaires. Leisure activities were characterized as those that were participated in for well-being or enjoyment and were separated into social, physical, and mental activities. For the duration of the studies, 74,700 individuals developed dementia.
After factors were adjusted for which included education, sex, and age, it was discovered that leisure activities were associated with an overall reduction in dementia risk. Individuals who took part in leisure activities had a 17% reduction in dementia risk compared to individuals who didn’t participate in leisure activities.
Mental activity involved mostly intellectual activities and included making crafts, making use of a computer, playing musical instruments or games, listening to the radio, watching TV, and writing or reading for pleasure. Researchers discovered that individuals who took part in these activities had a 23% reduction in dementia risk.
Physical activities consisted of dancing, yoga, playing sports, making use of exercise machines, bicycling, swimming, running, and walking. Researchers discovered that individuals who took part in these activities had a 17% reduction in dementia risk.
Social activities referred mostly to activities involving communicating with others and included volunteering, participating in religious activities, visiting with friends or relatives, joining a social club, or participating in a class. Researchers discovered that individuals who took part in these activities had a 7% reduction in dementia risk.
The meta-analysis indicates that keeping active is beneficial, and there are many easy to incorporate into everyday life activities that could be of benefit to the brain. The study demonstrated that leisure activities can help reduce dementia risk.
A study limitation was that individuals reported their own mental and physical activity, so the activities might not have been accurately remembered and reported.
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