Aerobic exercise can help preserve the ability to think and make decisions – cognitive function – in older adults who are at increased risk for or who have early Alzheimer’s disease, finds an analysis published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
This analysis of 19 existing studies confirms the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation that older adults get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise (such as brisk walking), 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic exercise (jogging or biking, for example), or a combination of the two types, and muscle-strengthening exercise at least two days per week. The studies involved 1,145 older adults, most of whom were in their mid-to late seventies; 65 percent of them were at increased risk for Alzheimer’s and 35 percent of were diagnosed with the disease.
According to the researchers, older adults who did not exercise experienced greater declines in cognitive function than those who did. Those who got the recommended amount of aerobic exercise experienced a threefold improvement in cognitive function over those who followed a combined aerobic training and strength training program.