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While scientists have always recommended physical activity to keep the brain healthy, research now shows that regular stretching and movement exercises can help older people with mild memory problems.
Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine recruited 300 adults with mild cognitive decline to do aerobic and stretching and balance exercises. The groups were divided into these two exercises, twice a week with a personal trainer, and trained alone twice a week over a 12 month period.
The study was presented Tuesday at the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego, Calif. All of the participants had some form of mild cognitive impairment, one of the early stages of dementia, and lived sedentary lifestyles.
Overall, the two groups performed 31,000 exercise sessions, said study author Laura Baker. At the end of the experiment, none of the group members had experienced cognitive decline, while a control group with similar participants with mild cognitive impairment who did not train declined.
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Baker told The Associated Press that the stud’s results indicate “it’s doable for everyone,” especially older adults who have a limited exercise routine. Additionally, she recommends that exercise “must be part of prevention strategies” for older adults who are already at risk.
Maria Carrillo, chief scientist of the Alzheimer’s Association, told the AP that previous research has indicated that daily physical activity helped reduce inflammation in the brain and increase the amount of blood circulating there. .
Baker also noted that having a social group or support network was crucial for older participants.
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Participants received regular support while being active at their YMCA facilities, and regular video call sessions were put in place after Covid-19 closed gyms, according to The Associated Press.
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