Aerobics Is Not Only Exercise That Can Slow Mild Cognitive Decline, Study Finds

6 August, 2022
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Aerobics Is Not Only Exercise That Can Slow Mild Cognitive Decline, Study Finds

Cheer up couch potatoes! Regular stretching and balance and range of motion exercises are as good as aerobic exercise in slowing the progression of mild cognitive decline, a new study has found.


"My worry in the beginning of the study was 'What if only aerobic makes a difference? Good luck getting the majority of Americans to do aerobic exercise on a regular basis!' It's not sustainable," said study author Laura Baker, a professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, via email.


"But we found that cognitive function did not decline over 12 months for either intervention group -- the people who did aerobic exercise or the people who did stretching, balance and range of motion," Baker said.


Rudy Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, welcomed the findings that a modest amount of exercise -- 120 to 150 minutes per week for 12 months -- may slow cognitive decline in sedentary older adults with mild cognitive impairment.


Tanzi, who was not involved in the study, has examined the role of exercise in mice genetically bred to have Alzheimer's disease and found exercise induces the birth of new neurons in the section of the brain most affected by Alzheimer's while also boosting beneficial growth factors that improve neural activity.


"So often, the benefits of interventions observed in Alzheimer's mouse models do not translate to human patients. It is nice to see that in this new study, the benefits of exercise perhaps do translate from mice to human," said Tanzi, who directs the genetics and aging research unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

CNN


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