(NaturalNews) Adults who are having trouble remembering things may be able to boost their mental performance with only moderate physical activity, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dementia and can help slow progression of the condition," said Susanne Sorensen of the Alzheimer's Society. "This study demonstrates that exercise improves cognition in people with mild cognitive impairment, and that there is a lasting effect even after the exercise intervention stops."
Researchers conducted the study on 138 adults over the age of 50 who were suffering from mild memory problems but did not have dementia. One portion of the group was assigned to take part in a 50-minute exercise session three times per week, while the rest was not assigned to any exercise.
The exercise sessions consisted of moderate physical activity like walking.
After 24 weeks, participants in the exercise group had significantly higher cognitive function and exhibited fewer dementia symptoms than participants in the control group.
"To our knowledge, this trial is the first to demonstrate that exercise improves cognitive function in older adults with subjective and objective mild cognitive impairment," the researchers said. "The benefits of physical activity were apparent after six months and persisted for at least another 12 months after the intervention had been discontinued."
The researchers noted that regular exercise is well-known to provide a wide variety of health benefits.
"Unlike medication, which was found to have no significant effect on mild cognitive impairment at 36 months, physical activity has the advantage of health benefits that are not confined to cognitive function alone, as suggested by findings on depression, quality of life, falls, cardiovascular function, and disability," they said.