There is no medication yet invented that can cut your risk of dementia by 50%. But walking about 10,000 steps per day might, suggests a study published online Sept. 6, 2022, by JAMA Neurology. Researchers analyzed health and activity information for more than 78,000 healthy people (ages 40 to 79) who wore fitness trackers 24 hours a day, for at least three days, and were then followed for seven years. Compared with people who didn’t walk much at all, people who walked about 9,800 steps per day (about five miles) were 51% less likely to develop dementia. People who walked just 3,800 steps per day (about two miles) were about 25% less likely to develop dementia. The study was observational so cannot provide conclusive proof that walking itself made the difference. But it wouldn’t hurt to try fitting a few more steps into your daily routine. The more steps you take, the better it is for your health — for your brain, your heart, and your protection against cancer, among other benefits.
Image: © Niedring/Drentwett/Getty Images
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.