We all know that exercise can offer a variety of health benefits, including supporting cognitive health. Sedentary behavior has been linked to an increased risk of dementia. But as we get older, we may have physical limitations that prevent us from engaging in the strenuous physical activity we may have enjoyed or done with relative ease when we were younger.
A new study suggests that low-impact workouts, including stretching and balance exercises, offer the same cognitive benefits in the area of executive functioning as aerobic activity. The study was performed on young adult subjects, so more testing will be needed, especially on older subjects. These findings could lead to the introduction of passive exercise programs at long term care and rehabilitation facilities.
Another recent study focused on sedentary adults who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. Again, the results were promising: cognitive function had not declined after one year of regular workouts, whether it was moderate aerobic exercise or range of motion exercise. A control group of adults with MCI did show a decline in cognitive functioning over the same time period, researchers said.
So the next time you or an older loved one worry you are not getting enough exercise, just remember, any kind of regular exercise can support cognitive health, along with offering a host of other benefits.
Photo by Anupam Mahapatra on Unsplash.
2 responses to “Exercise in variety of forms offers cognitive benefits, new studies show”
It really is difficult to remain mobile as we age. Places hurt that I never knew I had before. My stubborn mother has been told to do cardio walks for her COPD. It kept getting worse, and she refused to do it. Finally, she decided to give it a try, and she’s been doing better now. She sees the benefit and has been continuing to do short walks to help her breathing.
Agree Lori, even gardening leaves me sore and stiff. Glad your mom decided to give the cardio walks a try and saw some benefits.