Heavy physical labor increases the risk of dementia development

A study by the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) shows that people who perform heavy physical work are 55% more likely to develop dementia than their peers who work mostly in a sitting position. This article was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

Previous studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle is a good way to prevent dementia. And regular physical activity is one of the most important factors.

However, Danish scientists argue that one should distinguish between free physical activity and working physical labor, because they have reason to believe that the two forms have the opposite effects.

Specialists conducted a study involving almost five thousand men, who back in the 1970s reported on the type of work they performed daily. All were employees of 14 large companies based in Copenhagen: for example, railway, defense, postal, etc. For many years, scientists have been monitoring men's health and collecting data on dementia development.

It turned out that people who reported daily heavy physical work had a 55% higher risk of dementia development in old age than their sedentary peers. At the same time, men who worked mostly sitting but were active outside of work were significantly less likely to have neurodegeneration than those who continued to be inactive even after work.

In their calculations, scientists considered such risk factors for dementia as age, socioeconomic status, marital status, education, stress levels, smoking and alcohol consumption, body mass index, and blood pressure indicators.

The authors of the study explain that heavy physical labor has a negative impact on blood circulation in the heart and, consequently, on the blood supply to the brain. This may lead to the development of various diseases. They recommend people to avoid lifting and carrying heavy loads at work if they want to stay in the profession until the age of 70, while maintaining the tone of muscles and joints and functionality of the heart and brain.

Photo: I. Repin "Burlaki on the Volga" / dimitryrostovsky.ru 

Oct. 28, 2020, 10:26 a.m.

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