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Review IDs Exercise 'Dose' That May Improve Cognition in Seniors

THURSDAY, May 31, 2018 -- For older adults, exercise is associated with improved cognition, with exercising for at least 52 hours over a six month period for about an hour each session associated with improved cognitive skills, according to a review published online May 30 in Neurology: Clinical Practice.

Joyce Gomes-Osman, P.T., Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials proposing exercise to influence cognition in older adults. Data were included for 98 studies, with 11,061 participants (average age, 73 years).

The researchers found that, overall, there was good methodologic quality in all studies included. In examination of the correlation between improved cognition and measures of exercise dose (session duration, weekly minutes, frequency, total weeks, and total hours), a significant association was identified for total hours. The most stable and consistent improvements were seen in global cognition, processing speed/attention, and executive function.

"We found that exercising for at least 52 hours is associated with improved cognitive performance in older adults with and without cognitive impairment," the authors write. "Exercise modes supported by evidence are aerobic, resistance (strength) training, mind-body exercises, or combinations of these interventions."

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Posted: May 2018