Dementia is the name given to a group of symptoms linked to an ongoing decline in brain function, according to the NHS.
There are several different types of dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common in the UK.
Alzheimer’s may be caused by an abnormal build up of proteins in and around brain cells.
Dementia symptoms include sudden mood changes, difficulty concentrating and struggling to follow conversations.
But, you could improve your thinking skills and brain health by doing at least 52 hours of exercise over six months, scientists have claimed.
Fifty two hours of exercise over six months could improve the brain’s processing speed, and the amount of time it takes to complete a mental task, according to US scientists.
Each workout should last for about an hour to gain the cognitive benefits, they added.
In a healthy individual, 52 hours of exercise will also improve time-management skills, and improve attention span, they revealed.
Aerobic exercise – including walking and cycling – was the most common type of exercise.
But, patients also benefited from strength or resistance training, as well as mind-body exercises, including yoga or Tai chi.
“These results suggest that a longer-term exercise program may be necessary to gain the benefits in thinking skills,” said researcher Dr Joyce Gomes-Osman.
“We were excited to see that even people who participated in lower intensity exercise programs showed a benefit to their thinking skills.
“Not everyone has the endurance or motivation to start a moderately intense exercise program, but everyone can benefit even from a less intense plan.”
Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Head of Research, Dr Sara Imarisio added: “Regular exercise has a whole range of health benefits and existing evidence suggests it can play an important role in keeping our brains healthy as we age.
“This review underscores the link between exercise and our memory and thinking skills and highlights the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle in the long-term in order to see benefits to cognitive health.”
Exercising doesn’t have to mean spending hours and hours in the gym, Imarisio added.
The best way of sticking to an exercise regime is to find something you enjoy.
A brisk walk, a game of tennis or going swimming can all form part of an active lifestyle, she said.
Every week, you should aim for about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.
If you can’t spare 150 minutes every week, you can try doing 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, including jogging, fast swimming or riding a bike up a hill.