The aim of this research was to evaluate if being involved in a programme that integrates physical, mental, and social activities could help to reduce the impacts of cerebral ageing on cognitive functions. Fifty healthy adults over 65 years of age and without cognitive impairment were randomly assigned to either an experimental or a control group; subjects were equally divided by age, sex, schooling, physical health, mood, and social integration. For 6 months, the experimental group had biweekly meetings, participating in a multimodal approach based on a combination of simultaneous physical, mental, and social activities. At pre-test and post-test, both experimental and control subjects underwent a neuropsychological assessment, including tests to measure attention, verbal and spatial memory, language, constructional praxis, executive functions, processing speed, and intelligence. Furthermore, a visual analogue scale was used to examine well-being and mood states. Compared to the pre-test levels and the control subjects, the performance of subjects in the experimental group significantly improved in several neuropsychological tests, including attention, processing speed, memory, and executive functions, as well as mood state. Even in older subjects without cognitive impairments, a multimodal approach based on simultaneous physical, mental, and social activity can be a useful strategy that has beneficial effects on mood and cognition. The results suggest that an active lifestyle may protect against cognitive decline in ageing.
Keywords: Cognitive reserve; Lifestyle factors; Multimodal training; Neuroplasticity; Successful ageing.
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