Row of barbells in gym

(HealthDay News) — Leisure activities are associated with a reduced risk for dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD), according to a systematic review and meta-analysis published online Aug. 10 in Neurology.

Sizhen Su, MD, from Peking University Sixth Hospital in Beijing, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the associations between leisure activities and dementia. Data were included for 38 longitudinal studies with 2,154,818 participants at baseline. A total of 74,700 all-cause dementia (ACD) cases, 2,848 AD cases, and 1,423 vascular dementia (VD) cases identified during follow-up were included in the meta-analysis.

The researchers observed inverse associations for physical, cognitive and social activities with the incidence of ACD (relative risks, 0.83, 0.77, and 0.93, respectively). Associations were seen for physical and cognitive activities with reduced AD risk (relative risks, 0.87 and 0.66, respectively). Lower incidence of VD was seen in association with physical activity (relative risk, 0.67).

“This meta-analysis suggests that being active has benefits, and there are plenty of activities that are easy to incorporate into daily life that may be beneficial to the brain,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Our research found that leisure activities may reduce the risk of dementia.”

Abstract/Full Text