Two years ago, a team of researchers published the results of a 5-year study that tracked more than 1,6000 adults over the age of 65, concluding that physical exercises and good genetics can decrease the risk of developing dementia.
A recent follow-up study sought to find out which exercise routines can offer positive effects in the long run, as select patients that underwent 12 weeks of high-intensity training scored better by up to 30% in tests that evaluated memory performance.
The researchers were surprised by the fact that positive effects were observed among participants who were up to 88 years old as long as they could sustain the routines. A significant challenge is posed by the need to make exercise routines accessible, efficient, and sustainable at the same time.
During the new study, 64 sedentary participants who are older than 60 years were spread across three groups that met three times a week for intensive training. Researchers recorded their physical condition and cognitive abilities before and after the session.
Specific Workout Routines Could Hamper The Evolution Of Dementia
One group followed a series of intense treadmill runs alternated with sequences of easy walking. Another group underwent a similar regime but walked at up 95% of the heart rate instead of 70, as in the case of the third group, and a long session replaced the shorter ones. The participants of a control group stretched for 30 minutes.
Among the control group, the researchers observed a measurable decline at a physical and cognitive level.
The group that followed the power routine scored better, but the researchers argue that tamer exercises can be useful in the long run, especially if challenges are added. For example, if you enjoy walking, you can try to walk on a hill.
At this point, more data is needed before researchers can highlight a specific exercise or routine as the best one for reducing cognitive decline. The study was published in a scientific journal.