More and more studies are showing a relationship between cognitive function and exercise. New results from clinical trials were reported recently at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in Vancouver BC. Four (4) studies noted a reduced risk factor when targeted exercise was implemented as part of a regimen.The first study noted that moderate walking may enhance the region of the brain related to memory, and increase the nerve growth factor. Kirk Erickson, PhD from the University of Pittsburgh noted that “the aging brain remains modifiable, and that sedentary older adults can benefit from starting a moderate walking regimen”. The study reported an increase in the brain region identified with memory (in those that exercised).
The second study from the University of British Columbia examined the effect of resistance training on thinking and memory in older adults. This study entitled the EXCEL (Exercise for Cognition and Everyday Living) study looked at resistance training vs. balance and tone exercises and found that the more rigorous resistance training led to improvements related to memory and other outcomes (vs the balance and tone group).
Two additional studies reported found similar results. The bottom line? Exercise is good (for everybody)… Especially older adults at risk for MCI (mild cognitive impairment).