Previously, a number of studies have suggested that engaging in physical exercise helps to ward off cognitive decline as we age. Yonas Geda, from the Mayo Clinic (Minnesota, USA), and colleagues studied 1,324 men and women, ages 70 to 89 years, who did not have dementia at the studys start. Study subjects completed a physical exercise questionnaire for a two-year period, after which they were also assessed by a medical team to classify each as having normal cognition or mild cognitive impairment. A total of 198 participants (median or midpoint age, 83 years) were determined to have mild cognitive impairment and 1,126 (median age 80) had normal cognition. Those study subjects who reported performing moderate exercisesuch as brisk walking, aerobics, yoga, strength training or swimmingduring midlife or late life were less likely to have mild cognitive impairment. Midlife moderate exercise was associated with 39% reduction in the odds of developing the condition, and moderate exercise in late life was associated with a 32% reduction. Neither light exercise (such as bowling, slow dancing or golfing with a cart) nor vigorous exercise (including jogging, skiing and racquetball) were associated with reduced risk for mild cognitive impairment. The researchers conclude that: [A]ny frequency of moderate exercise performed in midlife or late life was associated with a reduced odds of having [mild cognitive impairment].
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