Being active should always be an important part of your life, but it gets increasingly imperative as you get into your seventies and eighties, and not just to stay fit. Activity can actually help stave off Alzheimer's Disease. These benefits don't require intense cardio or weight training, either. A recent study of over 700 older volunteers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that all kinds of daily activity – even things as simple as doing chores around the house – may well lower the chances of developing the condition.

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This is not the first study that shows how physical activity can help prevent Alzheimer's. Back in April, we told you about “autophagy," the beneficial, exercise-induced process where your cells clean out the rubbish that has accumulated inside them, rubbish that scientists believe can lead to diseases such as Alzheimer's. Similarly, a study published a few years back in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that even just an hour of simple exercise twice a week helped to keep Alzheimer's at bay. While those studies were specifically regarding exercise, this one is about all kinds of activity – anything that keeps you from being sedentary.

For the study, the volunteers wore a device called a “wrist actigraph." Actigraphy is a technique used to monitor relaxation and activity cycles, and the wrist actigraphs are often (but not wholly) used in conjunction with sleep research. The volunteers were monitored for about a week and half in order to get a baseline of their typical day-to-day activity.

In the half-decade that followed, 71 of them began showing signs of Alzheimer's Disease. The research team observed that the least active volunteers were more than twice as likely to develop the disease than the most active. The controlled research factors included individual age, overall motor function, depression, gender, history of diseases and other chronic health issues.

The head of the research team observed that studies of animals in other contexts have shown that enriching the environment, including but not limited to physical activity, can protect against overall cognitive decline. This may be due to an increase in the number of neurons in the brain, as well as an embiggening of the blood vessels.

The researchers considered the 'chicken-or-the-egg' possibility of the onset of early Alzheimer's being responsible for the decline in physical activity, as opposed to the other way around, but decided against the theory because there was no previous cognitive decline associated with the level of activity. Additionally, since this is about overall activity throughout the course of a given day, it doesn't come with the pressure that's often found with organized exercise – any kind of activity is beneficial to remain both physically and mentally sharp late in life. The important thing is to stay active!