JAMA / Archives - Moderate or high physical activity appears to be associated with a lower the risk of developing age-related cognitive impairment in older adults after a two-year period. Thorleif Etgen, M.D., of Technische Universität München, Munich, and Klinikum Traunstein, Germany, and colleagues examined physical activity and cognitive function in 3,903 participants (older than 55) from southern Bavaria, Germany between 2001 and 2003.
At the beginning of the study, 418 participants (10.7 percent) had cognitive impairment. After two years, 207 (5.9 percent) of the remaining 3,485 unimpaired study participants developed cognitive impairment. “The incidence of new cognitive impairment among participants with no, moderate and high activity at baseline was 13.9 percent, 6.7 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively,” the authors write.
“Future large randomized controlled intervention trials assessing the quantity (e.g., no activity vs. moderate vs. high activity) and quality (aerobic exercise or any kind type of physical exercise, like balance and strength training or even integrated physical activities like dancing or games) of physical activity that is required to prevent or delay a decline in cognitive function are recommended,” they conclude regarding the anti-aging benefits of exercise in the brain (Arch Intern Med. 2010;170:186-193).