•Researchers encouraged while engaging in physical and mental activities, people should not forget to engage in social activities.
•By the end of this decade,78 million across the globe will be living with dementia.
Understanding the problem
Dementia is one of the greatest health challenges the world is facing.
In fact data from the World Health Organization show that by the end of this decade,78 million across the globe will be living with dementia.
Dementia is an umbrella term for loss of memory and other thinking problems.
People with dementia have problems with memory, attention, communication, reasoning, judgement, and problem solving, among other issues.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, but it is not the only one.
There are many different types and causes of dementia.
What to do
Participating in leisure activities, such as reading a book, doing yoga and spending time with family and friends, may help lower the risk of dementia.
According to a new study published in the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, the activities have a positive effect on brain activities, physical activities, and social activities and the risk of dementia.
"Previous studies have shown that leisure activities were associated with various health benefits, such as a lower cancer risk, good heart health, and well-being," lead study author Lin Lu, says.
"However, there is conflicting evidence of the role of leisure activities in the prevention of dementia. Our research found that leisure activities like making crafts, playing sports or volunteering were linked to a reduced risk of dementia."
The researchers of the study found that those who engaged in leisure activities had a 17 per cent lower risk of developing dementia than those who did not engage in leisure activities.
The participants who engaged in mental activities and intellectual activities like reading or writing for pleasure, watching television, listening to the radio, playing games or musical instruments, using a computer and making crafts had a further 23 per cent lower risk of dementia.
While those who engaged in physical activities including walking, running, swimming, bicycling, using exercise machines, playing sports, yoga, and dancing had a 17 per cent lower risk of dementia.
Researchers advise that while engaging in physical and mental activities, people should not forget engaging in social activities.
“People should engage in social activities mainly those that involve communication with others and include attending a class, joining a social club, volunteering, visiting with relatives or friends, or even attending religious activities,” they advised.
"There are plenty of activities that are easy to incorporate into daily life that may be beneficial to the brain," Lu said.
"Our research found that leisure activities may reduce the risk of dementia. Future studies should include larger sample sizes and longer follow-up time to reveal more links between leisure activities and dementia."
Experts also maintain that observing a healthy and nutritious diet that targets the brain may also help keep dementia at bay.