People with mild memory problems that can precede Alzheimer’s disease could be helped by exercise, a conference has heard.
Researchers in Canada have found that resistance training such as lifting weights improved the performance in tests on conflict resolution, attention and memory in people with mild cognitive impairment.
The University of British Columbia study involved 86 women with the condition who were aged between 70 and 80.
[Related article: Eating berries may help prevent age-related memory loss]
The findings were presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, in Vancouver, Canada.
Another study, by the National Centre for Geriatrics and Gerontology in Japan found that language ability of a group of 47 older people with mild cognitive impairment improved when they took part in a mixture of aerobic, strength and balance exercises over a 12 month period.
A third study by a team at University of Pittsburgh on 120 older adults reported moderate intensity walking can grow the region of the brain related to memory.
Dr Anne Corbett, Research Manager at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “While weightlifting and workouts may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this research shows once again how important exercise is for the brain.
[Related article: High Intensity Interval Training with weights]
“We know regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing dementia by up to 45 per cent but these studies show it can also have real benefits for people with cognitive impairment.
“There are 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK. Research like this is crucial to help us provide the best treatment and care for people with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.
“The Prime Minister promised to double investment into research, now we need to make sure it’s spent in the most effective way.”
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