Can Aerobic Exercise Improve Cognitive Function and Decrease Alzheimer’s Disease Risk?

Can Aerobic Exercise Improve Cognitive Function and Decrease Alzheimer's Disease Risk?

Alzheimer’s Disease affects the brain and is the most common source of dementia. Dementia is a group of symptoms, including memory loss, and trouble with language, thinking and problem-solving. In the UK, over 520,000 people have Alzheimer’s induced dementia. (Alzheimer’s Society) One in three elderly people in the UK dies of forms Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. (Healthline)

Researchers have been looking into ways to help increase brain function and reduce the risk of dementia for some time. Now a recent study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, found that one year of aerobic exercise training was associated with improvements with blood flow to the brain and memory function in people with mild cognitive impairment.

The study focused on 37 people aged 55 – 80 with mild cognitive impairment who were observed for a 12 month period. To begin with the participants participated in 3 sessions of 25 – 30 minute long brisk walks per week. This increased gradually to 5 sessions of 30 – 40 minute long brisk walks per week.

The results showed that the increase in aerobic activity resulted in a number of benefits for people with mild cognitive impairment, including improvements to memory function. (Healthline)

While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s yet, this study shows that an increase in aerobic exercise could patients first identified with dementia to slow down the progression of symptoms or healthy older people to ward off the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.