Optimal dose of exercise can do a lot for maintaining cognitive performance in healthy older adults. “While there is strong evidence to suggest that maintaining a regular exercise regimen can improve brain health.
“For other forms of treatments such as prescription drugs, patients are prescribed a specific amount. Our study highlights the need to get this specific with exercise, too.
The team found that nearly any type of exercise, from aerobic exercises such as walking, running and cycling to weight-lifting and mind-body exercises such as yoga and tai chi, can contribute to improved cognitive performance.
Involvement that had individuals exercising for at least 52 hours over a period of six months led to the greatest improvement in thinking abilities. Additionally, the most stable improvements in thinking abilities were found in mental processing speed, both in healthy older adults and individuals with mild cognitive impairment.
To conduct the review, Pascual-Leone, Gomes-Osman and colleagues searched the medical literature for randomized controlled trials testing the impact of various exercise regimes on cognition. The initial effort yielded 4,600 relevant studies. After screening those for quality and content, 98 trials including more than 11,000 participants were included in the review.
Using a rigorous review process, the researchers averaged and described relationships among exercise type, intensity, session duration, frequency and total hours and five categories of cognitive abilities.
Gomes-Osman notes that weekly time spent exercising in minutes enough to benefit cardiovascular and other physical health. That could suggest people need more consistent exercise over a longer period of time to achieve benefits in cognitive performance. “We are still learning about all the ways in which exercise changes our brain,” said Gomes Osman.
Theo O’Farrell was born and raised in Summerside. As a journalist Theo has contributed to CBC News Blog, The Calgary Herald and Buzz Feed. In regards to academics, Theo earned his sociology degree from Queens. Theor covers local news and culture stories here at Island Daily Tribune.