Short Bursts of Exercise

Slow Cognitive Decline


ant to keep your brain sharp as you age? Exercising for as little as 10 minutes a few times per week can help stop mental decline in its tracks Engaging in regular exercise is one of the healthiest habits

you can adopt, regardless of your age or current physical condi- tion. Studies have shown that moderately intense aerobic exer- cise, like taking a brisk walk, is safe for most people and can strengthen bones and muscles, reduce your risks for disease and even improve brain health, forestalling the cognitive decline associated with aging. A study published in the journal Alzheimer's Research and

Therapy suggests that exercising more than once per week for at least 10 minutes can significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in individuals already suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI may be diagnosed when a person experiences greater-

than-average memory loss or confusion but has not begun expe- riencing the personality changes or more severe memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD). MCI is considered one of the leading risk factors for developing Alzheimer's.

Can Exercise Keep Your Brain Young? Researchers from Yonsei University College of Medicine,

Republic of Korea, investigated the association between con- tinual exercise and the risk of developing dementia in patients with MCI. The study analyzed data gathered between 2009 and 2015 for nearly 1 million MCI patients via a national health in- surance database. Individuals under the age of 40 were excluded from the

study, as were those who were diagnosed with dementia or who had not received a medical examination within two years of their MCI diagnosis. Written informed consent was obtained for each patient included in the study and physical activity data was

obtained via self-report questionnaires. The final cohort of 247,149 patients was divided into four groups based on their frequency of physical activity (PA):

• Never-PA group -- those who did not engage in regular physical activity

• Initiation-PA group -- those who began an exercise program after MCI diagnosis

• Withdrawal-PA group -- those who ceased physical activity after diagnosis

• Maintenance-PA group -- those who consistently performed physical activity

The physically active patients were further subdivided into

"irregular-PA" for those who engaged in physical activity on an irregular basis and "regular-PA" for those who engaged in vigor- ous physical activity more than three days per week, or moderate PA more than five days per week. There are currently no approved treatments for MCI that

effectively alter the path of disease-progression, making physical activity one of the most important interventional strategies for the prevention of Alzheimer's-type dementia. Prior studies have shown that high-intensity physical activity has a more protective effect against dementia than low-intensity exercise, and that duration and frequency of PA are important factors affecting the risk of cognitive decline. Accordingly, the Never-PA group was set as the benchmark for risk of developing AD.

Risk of Dementia Correlates to Physical Activity Physical activity for the cohort was defined as vigorous or

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