DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am 68 and understand that exercise is good for my health, but I recently read that exercise can also reduce the risk of developing dementia. Is that true, and if so, do researchers know why?
ANSWER: Perhaps one of the most feared conditions associated with aging is dementia — an impaired ability to think or recall. The most common cause is Alzheimer’s disease. Aging also may be associated with lesser — but still disruptive — thinking and memory problems, which is called mild cognitive impairment. Mild cognitive impairment is a common precursor to Alzheimer’s.