Exercise: The ‘Right Dose’ for Improved Cognition

Charles Vega, MD June 29, 2018
Original report here

Numerous studies have found a positive relationship between regular exercise and brain health. But just how much exercise is necessary to see cognitive gains in older adults? A recent systematic review of 98 randomized controlled trials involving over 11,000 older adults with a mean age of 73 years provides an answer. The researchers determined that 52 hours – delivered in 1-hour sessions over 6 months is the minimum amount needed to improve cognition in older adults. In fact, total exercise time – whether it be cardiovascular exercise, resistance training, mind-body exercises or a combination was the most important factor linked to improved processing, speed and attention, executive function, and global cognition.

These improvements were seen in healthy adults, those wild mild cognitive impairment, and even those with dementia. Perhaps dosing exercise like this – one hour, twice a week – might be a new pitch that might motivate patients, particularly those worried about dementia, to get up and move.