The general consensus in the literature has tended to suggest that mid-life physical activity is typically beneficial, in part as a lifestyle choice which is likely to contribute to a reduced risk of developing cognitive decline and / or dementia in later life.
This piece of cherished “conventional wisdom” may have been thrown into question by a recent epidemiological study, which has discovered no evidence for a neuroprotective effect of physical activity. The authors believe it possible that previous findings indicating an association whereby physically active people have tended to demonstrate a lower dementia risk may be explainable by a misinterpretation of “reverse causation”.
The following study discovered no evidence that physical activity in midlife reduces the risk of developing dementia.
“The inclusion of physical activity in guidelines to tackle the burden of dementia seems not be based on robust evidence of a protective effect of physical activity”.
Sabia, S. Dugravot, A. Dartigues, JF. [et al] (2017). Physical activity, cognitive decline, and risk of dementia: 28 year follow-up of Whitehall II cohort study. BMJ. June 22nd 2017; 357: j2709.