Physical activity performed in midlife or later appears to be associated with improved cognitive function, according to a report in the January Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Mild cognitive impairment can occur with age and dementia, affecting normal thinking, learning and memory. Each year, 10 to 15 percent of individuals with mild cognitive impairment develop dementia, compared to 1 to 2 percent of the general population. Previous studies have indicated that exercise may improve cognitive abilities.
Exercise can benefit health by:
• Improving mood.
• Combating chronic disease.
• Maintaining weight loss.
• Increasing energy.
• Regulating sleep patterns.
The study, led by Laura D. Baker, Ph.D., of the University of Washington, evaluated findings from a trial involving 33 adults with mild cognitive impairment. A group of 23 were assigned to an aerobic exercise group and exercised at high intensity levels for 45 to 60 minutes per day, four days per week. A second group of 10 individuals performed non-aerobic stretching exercises.
The individuals in the high-intensity aerobic exercise group experienced improved cognitive function compared with those in the non-aerobic group.
"Aerobic exercise is a cost-effective practice that is associated with numerous physical benefits. Exercise also provides a cognitive benefit for adults with mild cognitive impairment without the cost and adverse effects associated with most pharmaceutical therapies," the authors say.
Physical exercise may protect against mild cognitive impairment via production of nerve-protecting compounds, greater blood flow to the brain, improved development of neurons, and the decreased risk of heart and blood vessel diseases.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine therapy and massage for a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso. Feb.2.