If you’re not into high-intensity interval training (HIIT), running marathons and the like, then good news: the latest research says that there is still benefit to doing more gentle and restorative movements such as stretching, range of motion and aerobic exercises. And the benefits go beyond the sheer physical.
Stretching, range of motion and aerobic exercise all slow mild cognitive decline, says a new study presented at the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego.
Specifically, researchers found that cognitive function did not decline over the 12 months the study groups participated in either aerobic exercise or stretching, balance and range of motion. The amount of exercise – still adding up to about 120 to 150 minutes per week – was beneficial to older adults with mild cognitive impairment.
Previous research has found that exercises triggers the creation of new neurons in the brain.
The study followed 296 participants with mild cognitive decline (subjects who start misplacing or forgetting things more often), and split them into two groups: one group did moderate intensity aerobic training on a treadmill or stationary bike for 30 to 40 minutes while the other group focused on stretching and mobility exercises designed to help them navigate real-life obstacles.
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Both groups worked with a personal trainer two times per week and then exercised on their own twice per week for 12 months. The study found that in both groups cognitive decline did not occur, while it did decline in the evenly-matched control group, which did not participate in exercise.
All the more reason to continue healthy habits well into your Golden Girl years.