Were you a jock in high school? If you were (and you’re a woman) you could have a lower risk of developing dementia than, say, the nerds or the arty kids (teenage stereotypes courtesy of John Hughes).
A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggests that cognitive impairment is less prevalent in women who were more physically active in their teenage years. Researchers interviewed more than 9,000 women about their level of physical activity in their teenage years, at age 30, at age 50 and in late life. Their cognitive ability was assessed using a standardized test. The women who were inactive as teens were almost twice as likely to show evidence of cognitive impairment later in life than those who were active teenagers.
Interestingly, more than 28 percent of the women reported being physically active at age 50, while only 15.5 percent reported being active in their teens.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘Great, I skipped P.E. in high school and now I’m doomed because I can’t change the past.’ Well, not exactly. ‘Not to be without hope, people who were inactive at teenage can reduce their risk of cognitive impairment by becoming active in later life,’ the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Laura Middleton of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre said in a press release.
A great way to recapture your adolescence today is to try our phys-ed inspired workout, featuring all your gym-class favourites (remember burpees?). Better still, sign up for the Vchy Best Health Challenge and commit to making a healthy change in your life.
And if you’re a parent of a teen, encourage them to be active now. Just try this old chestnut: ‘You’ll thank me when you’re older.’ That always works, right?
How can parents encourage their teenagers to get active?