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Running over 15 miles a week could reduce your chance of Alzheimer's disease by 40 percent.

Running over 15 miles a week could reduce your chance of Alzheimer's disease by 40 percent.

As we get older, keeping our minds active and memories sharp becomes more and more important, particularly as risks for dementia and Alzheimer's disease grow with age. But a new study suggests you could help yourself ward off these conditions simply by running more often.

HealthDay News reports that the study, conducted at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Berkeley, California, found that running over 15 miles a week could reduce the risk of dying from Alzheimer's by as much as 40 percent. This 15-mile benchmark was key, as the researchers also saw only a 25 percent reduction for those who ran between 7.7 and 15.3 miles instead, though study lead Paul Williams noted that this difference was not statistically significant.

These findings, which were extrapolated from a pool of 153,000 runners and walkers, also pointed to walking as a prevention method for Alzheimer's, though only "if the amount of energy expended is equivalent to running more than 15 miles weekly," the source writes. According to Williams, going the walking route would require moving 50 percent further than runners, with a faster pace and greater time investment needed. 

"Exercise seems to prevent the shrinkage [in the brain] that occurs with age," Williams said in an official statement, though he adds that eating at least three pieces of fruit per day can also contribute to a 60 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's-related death compared to those who eat less.

As of today, nearly 5 million Americans age 65 and up suffer from memory loss and impaired brain health associated with Alzheimer's disease. This number will likely only increase further as the Baby Boomers continue to age — a trend that makes new discoveries like these all the more encouraging.

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