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While scientists have always recommended physical activity to maintain brain health, studies show that regular stretching and exercise can help older adults with mild memory problems.
Researchers at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine recruited 300 adults with mild cognitive decline do aerobics, stretching and balance exercises. The groups were divided based on these two exercises, twice per week with a personal trainer and two additional times per week on their own for 12 months.
The study was presented on Tuesday for 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International conference in San Diego, California. All participants had some form of mild cognitive impairment, one of the first stages of dementia, and led a sedentary lifestyle.
In total, both groups performed 31,000 exercises, says study author Laura Baker. At the end of the experiment, none of the participants in the group had cognitive decline, while in the control group with similar participants with mild cognitive impairment who did not play sports, there was a decrease.
Baker told The Associated Press that the results of the study show “it’s doable for everyone,” especially older adults who have a limited exercise regimen. What’s more, she recommends that exercise “should be part of preventive strategies” for older citizens who are already at risk.
Maria Carrillo, chief scientist at the Alzheimer’s Association, told the AP that past studies have shown that daily physical activity helps reduce inflammation in the brain and increase blood flow to the brain.
Baker also noted that having a social group or support network is critical to other members.
Participants were regularly supported during their activities at the YMCA facilities., According to the Associated Press, regular video calling sessions were set up after Covid-19 closed gyms.