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Does sport offer protection against dementia?


Doctors in the United States recommend that people with mild cognitive impairment do sports

A new policy for doctors in the United States states that patients with mild cognitive impairment should exercise twice a week. Training improves memory and thinking. So older people should do sports instead of getting medication if they have memory problems.

The American Academy of Neurology experts found that people with mild cognitive impairment should do physical exercises twice a week to improve their thinking and memory. The researchers published the results of their study in the journal "Neurology".

Exercise helps the body and mind

It has long been shown that regular physical activity has a positive impact on health. Now we can say that exercise can also help improve memory in people with mild cognitive impairment, explains author Dr. Ronald Petersen. Experts thought that what is good for the heart could also be good for the brain and examined the effects of sport on thinking and memory.

What are mild cognitive impairments?

Mild cognitive impairment is an intermediate stage between the normal cognitive decline in aging and the strong cognitive decline in dementia. Symptoms that occur can include problems with memory, language, thinking, and judgment that are more severe than with normal age-related changes. In general, these changes are not serious enough to significantly affect daily life and activities, the researchers say. However, mild cognitive impairments can increase the risk that those affected will later develop dementia, which is caused by Alzheimer's or other neurological diseases.

Already two training units per week protect against mental degradation

The updated recommendations for mild cognitive impairments were developed after reviewing all available studies. Studies over a period of six months showed that training sessions twice a week can help people with mild cognitive impairment to cope with their symptoms.

At best, you should do 150 minutes of exercise a week

Dr. Petersen encourages people to do aerobic exercise. But brisk walking and jogging also have positive effects. No matter which exercise you choose, try to spend 150 minutes a week doing exercise. For example, five workouts that last 30 minutes or three workouts that last 50 minutes. The amount of effort should be enough to make you sweat a little, the expert advises. Exercise can slow the rate at which mild cognitive impairment eventually turns into dementia.

Can cognitive training improve cognitive functions?

So-called cognitive training also seems to help people with mild cognitive impairments. Such cognitive training uses repetitive memory and reasoning exercises, the researchers explain. There is weak evidence that cognitive training can improve cognitive functions, the authors say. The experts did not recommend a change in diet or the use of medication. There are no mild cognitive impairment drugs available from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are approved, explain the doctors.

How common are cognitive disorders?

More than six percent of people between the ages of 60 and 70 around the world have mild cognitive disorders, the researchers report in a press release from the American Academy of Neurology. The older people get, the more common this problem becomes. Over the age of 85, more than 37 percent suffer from mild cognitive disorders. With such a prevalence, discovering lifestyle factors that slow the rate of cognitive impairment can make a big difference for individuals and society, says Dr. Petersen.

The process of aging can be delayed

"We don't have to consider aging as a passive process, we can do something about the aging process," added the expert. So if a cognitive impairment would normally occur at the age of 72, this can be delayed by physical training. For example, cognitive impairment only occurs at the age of 75 or 78. This is a big difference. (as)

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