Move It or Lose It


What do dementia and obesity have in common? They are both preventable diseases.

Dementia and obesity are also linked to one another. Obesity puts people at risk for dementia. It’s believed that obesity reduces blood flow to the brain and might also affect hormones that impact cognitive function.

Body type also has a relationship to dementia. People who hold their fat in their bellies are more at risk for cognitive decline. Researchers think this is related to the way fat builds up around the abdominal organs. (This is called visceral fat, while fat under the skin is called adipose fat.)

What exercises can you do to reduce your belly fat? All of them!

Any exercise that burns calories and gets your body moving will help you lose belly fat. In one study, researchers followed people for a year as they started a new exercise and diet program. The researchers asked the participants to get 160 minutes a week of moderate intensity endurance exercise (that’s 32 minutes a day, 5 days a week). Some examples of moderate intensity exercise include walking briskly, mopping and vacuuming, mowing the lawn, bicycling, and playing tennis.

After a year of the exercise program, participants lost 25% of visceral fat, 18% of adipose fat and 21% of their total fat. Losing a quarter of visceral fat significantly lowers the risk for cognitive decline.

So, if you want to protect your brain health (and who doesn’t), today’s the day to get moving. To be exact, get moving at moderate intensity!


  • Borel, A.-L., Nazare, J.-A., Smith, J., Alméras, N., Tremblay, A., Bergeron, J., … Després, J.-P. (2012). Borel, A.-L., Nazare, J.-A., Smith, J., Alméras, N., Tremblay, A., Bergeron, J., … Després, J.-P. (2012). Visceral and not subcutaneous abdominal adiposity reduction drives the benefits of a 1-year lifestyle modification program. Obesity , 20(6), 1223–1233.doi:10.1038/oby.2011.396
  • Cho, G. J., Hwang, S. Y., Lee, K., Choi, K. M., Hyun Baik, S., Kim, T., … Yoo, H. J. (2019). Association Between Waist Circumference and Dementia in Older Persons: A Nationwide Population‐Based Study. Obesity , 27(11), 1883–1891.doi:10.1002/oby.22609
  • Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health: Obesity Prevention Source. (2012, October 21). Examples of Moderate and Vigorous Physical Activity. Retrieved November 18, 2019, from Obesity Prevention Source website.