Leisure activities and dementia


Dr Veena Aggarwal, Consultant Women Health, CMD and Editor-in-Chief, IJCP Group & Medtalks Trustee, Dr KK's Heart Care Foundation of India    15 August 2022

Do leisure activities have an impact on dementia? Researchers from China set out to examine this premise in a systematic review and meta-analysis of 38 studies involving over 2 million people. And they found an inverse relationship between leisure activities and the odds of dementia due to any cause including Alzheimers disease and vascular dementia. Participants were assigned questionnaires or were  interviewed to gather information about various types of leisure activities, including cognitive, physical, and social activities. The follow-up period was for three years. In these studies, a total of 74,700 people developed dementia.

Results showed a 17% reduction in risk of developing dementia among those who engaged in leisure activities, as a whole, compared to those who did not.

Mental activities such as reading, writing, using a computer, and craftwork had 23% lower risk of dementia. Similarly, physical activities like walking, swimming, yoga, playing games were found to reduce dementia risk by 17%. Joining a social club, visiting relatives and friends or participating in prayer meetings also reduced the risk of dementia by 7%.

This study shows why hobbies are good for health, including mental health. Participating in leisure activities reduces the risk of dementia. Everyone should find some activity that interests us greatly and pursue it in our spare time.


  1. Sizhen Su, et al. Leisure activities and the risk of dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Neurology. 2022 Aug 10;10.1212/WNL.0000000000200929. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000200929.

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