HealthDay News — Running more than 15 miles a week may reduce the risk of dying from Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The study included 153,536 runners and walkers who have been participating in the National Runners’ and Walkers’ Health Studies. Men and women were recruited for the studies beginning in the early 1990s. The participants were followed for an average of 12 years, and the number who died of Alzheimer’s disease was tracked. Over the follow-up, there were 175 deaths from Alzheimer’s disease.

Study author Paul Williams, PhD, a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Berkeley, California, found that those who ran more than 15.3 miles weekly had a 40% risk reduction in death from Alzheimer’s.

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Running between 7.7 and 15.3 miles was linked with a 25% risk reduction, but the finding wasn’t statistically significant. Walking to expend energy equivalent to a 15.3-mile run was also linked with risk reduction. However, walkers have to walk about 50% further, walk briskly (equivalent to running a 12-minute mile), and put in more exercise time, Williams told HealthDay.

When looking at diet, Williams found that those who ate three or more pieces of fruit a day had a 60% lower risk of death from Alzheimer’s, compared to those who ate less than a piece of fruit daily.

Those who took statins, which have been linked with lower Alzheimer’s disease risk in other studies, had a lower risk of death from Alzheimer’s by 40%.


Williams PT. J Alzheimers Dis. 2014; doi: 10.3233/JAD-141929.