A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease explored the issue. Conducted by Dr. J. Carson Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health, the project investigated the idea of using exercise as an intervention for seniors who have already been diagnosed with a mild cognitive impairment. The average age of study participants was 78.
Improving Brain Health with Exercise
The trial followed participants over a 12-week period. Physically inactive seniors between the ages 60-88 years old were split in to two groups.
One group was made up of older adults who had a mild cognitive impairment and the other group was comprised of seniors who had normal, healthy brain function. Both groups participated in regular treadmill walking under the supervision of a personal trainer.
The Results of the Alzheimer’s and Exercise Trial
The study showed that exercise enhanced memory recall and brain function. Participants also saw improvements in memory performance and neural efficiency when involved in memory retrieval tasks. Both groups also improved their cardiovascular fitness by about ten percent.
The take-away from the trial is that moderate exercise, defined as 30-minutes performed most days of the week, is one more step adults can take that may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.