Studies: Exercise could prevent Alzheimer's, Parkinson's diseases

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Exercise may prevent or slow Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, two prevalent diseases among senior citizens, according to two separate studies.

Middle-aged people taking regular exercise at least twice a week could reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer's by 50%, the Alzheimer's study showed, while men who exercised regularly and heartily early in their adult life lowered their risk for Parkinson's by as much as 60%, the other study revealed.

The studies were conducted through Stockholm's Gerontology Research Centre and the Harvard School of Public Health. An estimated 12 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer's, which is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. Parkinson's disease is a progressive nervous disease occurring generally after age 50.

"An active lifestyle, both physical, mental and social, is preventive. It's never too early to start to prevent Alzheimer's disease," said Miia Kivipelto, an Alzheimer's disease specialist at Stockholm's Gerontology Research Centre.