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PostPosted: 04 Jun 2018 22:06 
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While thousands of clinical trials suggest that exercising the body can protect or improve brain health as we age, few studies provide practical prescriptive guidance for how much and what kind of exercise must be undertaken. Now a new study indicates that older people who have lapsed into a sedentary lifestyle can reverse their mental decline with as little as 52 hours of exercise - whether it is 2 hours every week for 6 months or 1 hour every week for one year! Each workout should last for about an hour to gain the cognitive benefits, they added.

Their analysis of 98 studies involving more than 11,000 people aged above 60 found that sustained exercise brought measurable improvements in concentration, processing speed and problem-solving, even for people with dementia.

The research is the first to come up with a precise figure, which is the tipping point for reversing mental decline. The effect could be achieved in six months with two hours a week — though the new regime would then have to be maintained.

The team found that nearly any type of exercise, from aerobic exercises such as walking, running and cycling to weight-lifting and mind-body exercises such as yoga and tai chi, can contribute to improved cognitive performance. Interventions that had individuals exercising for at least 52 hours over a period of six months led to the greatest improvement in thinking abilities. Additionally, the most stable improvements in thinking abilities were found in mental processing speed, both in healthy older adults and individuals with mild cognitive impairment.

The paper’s senior author, Joyce Gomes-Osman, of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, said exercise revived the faculties impaired by old age. “Processing speed and executive function are among the first to go when you’re ageing,” she said. “This is evidence that you can literally turn back the clock on ageing by maintaining a regular exercise regime.”

The research is published in the journal Neurology

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