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Know More: Exercise to improve memory and thinking, study says

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Did you know that exercise can help improve memory? Pearl Mathias tells you more about a new study that sheds light on the effects of exercise on mild cognitive impairment

Mild cognitive impairment is an intermediate stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal ageing and the more serious mental decline of dementia. Symptoms can involve problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes. Now, a new study says that exercise can boost thinking and memory.

“Regular physical exercise has long been shown to have heart health benefits, and now we can say exercise also may help improve memory for people with mild cognitive impairment,” says Ronald Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., lead author and director of the Alzheimer ’s Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging.

The academy’s guideline authors developed the updated recommendations on mild cognitive impairment after reviewing all available studies. The recommendation is part of an updated guideline for mild cognitive impairment published in an online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Six-month studies showed twice-weekly workouts may help people with mild cognitive impairment as part of an overall approach to managing their symptoms.

“What’s good for your heart can be good for your brain,” says Dr. Petersen. He encourages people to engage in aerobic exercise: Walk briskly, jog, whatever you like to do, for 150 minutes a week — 30 minutes, five times a week or 50 minutes, three times a week. The level of exertion should be enough to work up a sweat but shouldn’t be so rigorous that you can’t hold a conversation. “Exercising might slow down the rate at which you would progress from mild cognitive impairment to dementia,” he concludes.

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