Exercise improves cognitive function in aging patients

Int J Clin Exp Med. 2014 Oct 15;7(10):3144-9. eCollection 2014.


A decline in cognitive ability commonly occurs among older individuals. This study sought to explore the restorative effects of exercise in older patients with existing cognitive disabilities. Ninety-six patients with mild cognitive impairment were placed in an exercise program for six months. Following completion of the program, participants were assessed via the Chinese Mini Mental Status Examination (MMSE), Activity of Daily Living (ADL) assessment, and body movement testing and compared to a control group of patients with mild cognitive impairment who did not participate in the exercise program (N = 102). Statistical analyses were performed using the Student's t-test and chi-square test to compare results between groups. Compared with control group, patients who exercised showed improved cognitive function in immediate memory (p < 0.001) and delayed recall (p = 0.004) function. In addition, activities associated with daily living showed improvement (p < 0.001), as did body movement (p < 0.05), arm stability (p < 0.001), and the appearance of rotation (p < 0.05). Based on these results, we conclude that participation in an exercise program can improve patients' cognitive function, physical abilities, and body movement capacity.

Keywords: Aging; cognitive function; dementia; exercise; mild cognitive impairment.