Posted on Aug 15, 2011, 6 a.m.
Engaging in regular physical activity is associated with less decline in cognitive function in older adults.
Previous research has suggested that physical activity is associated with reduced rates of cognitive impairment in older adults. Marie-Noel Vercambre, Ph.D., from the Foundation of Public Health, Mutuelle Generale de l'Education Nationale (France), and colleagues examined data from the Women's Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study, which included women who had either prevalent vascular disease or three or more coronary risk factors. The researchers determined patients' physical activity levels at baseline (1995 to 1996) and every two years thereafter. Between 1998 and 2000, they conducted telephone interviews with 2,809 women; the calls included tests of cognition, memory and category fluency, and followed up the tests three more times over the succeeding 5.4 years. The researchers analyzed data to correlate cognitive score changes with total physical activity and energy expenditure from walking. As participants' energy expenditure increased, the rate of cognitive decline decreased. The amount of exercise equivalent to a brisk, 30-minute walk every day was associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment. The team reported that: “Regular physical activity, including walking, was associated with better preservation of cognitive function in older women with vascular disease or risk factors.”
Marie-Noel Vercambre; Francine Grodstein; JoAnn E. Manson; Meir J. Stampfer; Jae H. Kang. “Physical Activity and Cognition in Women With Vascular Conditions.” Arch Intern Med, Jul 2011; 171: 1244 - 1250.