A 35% increase in physical activity improves memory and cognition in healthy elderly

Randomized controlled trials conducted in older people have shown that increasing physical activity in daily life to a certain level can achieve improvements in physical strength and cognition.The test results are published in the journal Research and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Study: Effect of Moderate Physical Activity Intervention on Physical Fitness and Cognition in Healthy Older People with Low Levels of Physical Activity: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Image Credit: Ground Picture / Shutterstock


Dementia is a group of conditions characterized by impairment of memory, thinking, and other cognitive and social abilities. Subclinical neuropathological changes that occur before the diagnosis of dementia can slowly affect an individual’s cognition, behavior, and physical activity.

Increasing physical activity is considered a promising approach to prevent, or at least delay, cognitive decline and dementia. Several studies have shown that moderate-intensity physical activity for at least six months improves cognitive function, even in people with low physical activity. In contrast, systematic reviews and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials have not shown a positive association between physical activity and improved cognitive performance.

In an ongoing randomized controlled trial, scientists found that induction of 35% or more of physical activity was associated with improvements in physical fitness, cognitive function, and overall well-being in healthy older adults with low levels of physical activity. I checked to see if it would connect. The trial period was 9 months.

trial design

A total of 102 participants were enrolled in the trial. Participants were randomly divided into two groups. In the intervention group, 69 participants had her COACH method applied. In the control group, the STRETCH method was applied to her 33 participants. The participant was assessed at baseline and at her 6- and 9-month follow-ups.

The COACH method aimed to increase low- to moderate-intensity physical activity using a pedometer-based exercise counseling strategy. The method involved seven of his coaching sessions conducted over six months. A follow-up session 9 months after intervention initiation was also included.

Participants in the STRETCH group underwent 7 individually guided muscle stretching sessions for 6 months. This group was treated as a control group.

The primary objective of this trial was to assess participants’ physical activity, cognitive function, and fitness. In addition, the trial assessed cardiovascular risk factor profile, activities of daily living, frailty, and mental health.

Effects of interventions on physical activity

Participants in the intervention group significantly improved their average number of steps per day. However, no significant changes in self-reported physical activity, fitness, and cognitive performance were observed in this group.

At baseline, female participants walked slower than male participants. However, after the intervention, female participants achieved significantly faster walking speeds compared to control participants. Considering male participants, no significant differences in walking speed were observed between the intervention and control groups.

Effects of interventions on physical and mental health

The intervention group reduced limitations in activities of daily living among participants. Over time, the mental health of participants in the control group improved.

The intervention had no significant effect on frailty, depression symptoms, and overall mental health.

Participants intended to increase physical activity

In this trial, another comparison was made between participants who achieved an intended improvement in physical activity of 35% or more and those who did not. Participants who achieved the intended improvement were younger and had higher levels of cognitive activity at baseline.

An increase in physical activity of 35% or more over 9 months was found to significantly improve aerobic capacity, walking speed, global cognition, executive function, and verbal memory.

Subgroup analysis revealed that a ≥35% increase in physical activity significantly improved executive function in ApoE-ε4 allele carriers compared to noncarriers. Carriers of the ApoE-ε4 allele are at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.


Study results show that in older adults with low levels of physical activity, increasing physical activity by 35% or more can improve physical fitness and cognitive function.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *