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Exercise Delays Cognitive Decline

It has been well reported that exercise can delay cognitive decline late in life, however little is known about the impact of exercise on cognitive health independent of other factors like cognitive stimulation and social interaction. A study published in PreventionScience, the official journal for the Society of Prevention Research, assessed the impact of late life exercise on cognitive health, and how duration, frequency, and intensity of exercise influence outcomes. During the study, researchers analyzed data on over 1,200 people who were 70 years or older in 1999 from national surveys conducted in 1999, 2003, and 2007.

Results showed that participants who were more active during their leisure time had better cognitive function over time and a slower rate of cognitive decline. In addition, duration of exercise was the only other factor that was predictive of cognitive function, with adults who were active at least 30 minutes per bout of exercise were most likely to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. According to the authors, “ this research supports the case for physical exercise programs for older adults in order to help prevent loss of cognitive function.”

Chu DC1, Fox KR, Chen LJ, Ku PW. Components of Late-Life Exercise and Cognitive Function: an 8-Year Longitudinal Study. Prev Sci. 2014 Oct 9. [Epub ahead of print]

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