Moderate physical activity may improve cognition in older age, study finds

Moderate physical activity in midlife is associated with better cognition in old age, a new study of 3,050 twins has found.

Older man exercising

While traditional vascular risk factors, including obesity, elevated blood pressure and lack of exercise have been linked with dementia, it has remained unclear whether exercise benefits cognition other than reducing these risks. But the link remained even after factoring those out.

“This suggests that the beneficial influence of physical activity on the brain and cognition is not solely based on decreasing vascular risk factors,” says researcher Paula Iso-Markku from the University of Helsinki.

The link between exercise and cognition was examined in all the twins who took part, and then again later by comparing cognition in pairs where one twin was more physically active than the other.

The researchers found that cognitive benefits in old age did not continue to increase the more vigorously a person exercised in midlife. This essentially means that extremely vigorous exercise in midlife did not result in superior cognitive abilities later on in life – a moderate amount of exercise sufficed.

Exercise is extremely important as you get older, and can still be achieved if you require the use of one of our TGA mobility scooters. Take a look at our easy exercises for limited mobility guide and see how you can stay active in later life.

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