Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive mental disorder that destroys thinking ability and memory. This is one of the most common types of dementia that occurs among the older population. The condition is still incurable, but there are several treatment options for the same. There are around 5.3 million older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s in the U.S. It is the sixth leading cause of mortality in the country. The number of older adults who will develop Alzheimer’s is expected to be tripled by the year 2050. Geriatrics experts recommend that elderly people should indulge in any kind of physical exercises to improve their brain health.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided recommendations for how long adults should involve in physical exercise. It suggests that adults aged 18-64 years should indulge in 150 minutes of moderate exercise (like brisk walking) per week, around 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic training per week, or a combination of both. The WHO also recommends adults to perform muscle-strengthening training for at least two days per week or more.
The researchers reviewed around 19 studies which studied the effect of exercises on cognitive function in the elderly people who were at risk of developing Alzheimer’s or already had it. These studies included around 1,145 elderly people, most of them were aged between 65 and 70 years. Of these participants, 65 percent were at risk of developing Alzheimer’s and around 35 percent already had the disease. The results were recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The researchers observed that only those elderly people who indulged in aerobic exercise experienced around a three times greater levels of improvement in their cognitive ability than those who indulged in both strength training exercises and aerobic exercises. The researchers also found that elderly participants in the control groups, who didn’t exercise experienced greater declines in their cognitive function. Whereas, the participants who exercised had trifle improvements in their cognitive function irrespective of the type of exercise they indulged in.
Finally, the research team concluded that aerobic exercise might be more effective than other types of exercises in preserving cognitive ability of the people who are already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or at a risk of developing the disorder. The researchers also emphasized the need of further studies for confirming their findings.