Our genes dictate our eye, skin and hair color, how tall or short we are, and even how likely we are to develop certain health issues, including Alzheimer’s disease. But researchers have found that people who keep up an active lifestyle are less likely to suffer memory-related problems even if they possess at-risk genes for dementia.
Several at-risk genes have been identified that not only increase a person’s likeliness of developing Alzheimer’s disease, but also influence memory as well.
Researchers from The Swedish National Study on Aging and Care (SNAC) studied 2,480 people aged between 60 and 100. Those who possessed certain genes were more likely to have memory problems than those who didn’t. However, those who maintained a physically active lifestyle were less likely to be affected.
This study emphasizes the health benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle well into old age.
Ferencz B, Laukka E, Welmer A, et al. The benefits of staying active in old age: Physical activity counteracts the negative influence of PICALM, BIN1, and CLU risk alleles on episodic memory functioning. Psychology and Aging. Vol 29(2), Jun 2014, 440-449. doi: 10.1037/a0035465