The Cognitive Benefits of Physical Exercise

Physical exercise is one of the few activities we can undertake that not only reduces the risk of dementia, but also reverses its effects. When speaking of the development of dementia, 50% of risk factors come from our genetics; this is something obviously out of our control. However, that is not the case in relation to the remaining 50%.

Another study found that older adults (over the age of 77) who ranked in the top third for exercise were 61% less likely to develop dementia.

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Traditional exercises remain beneficial, but HUR USA has put forward a list of their preferred and most effective exercises.

Cardio exercises that that involve dual-tasking - such as working on the CyberCycle. The American Journal for Preventive medicine found that CyberCyclists experienced a 23% reduction in progression to mild cognitive repair compared to more traditional exercises.

Yoga has been shown to increase attention and focus, reduce stress, and increase cognitive functioning in people of all ages and ability levels.

Tai Chi Tai Chi can benefit both mental and physical health. A large meta-analysis showed that Tai Chi can “significantly improve the majority of outcomes of global cognitive ability, attention, learning and memory, language, emotion and perception, and execution in health adults.”

High Intensity Interval Training (HIT) HIIT training involves short bursts of high intensity exercise followed by short rest periods.

Dual Tasking Dual tasking is performing a physical and cognitive exercise at the same time. Dual tasking improves cognitive ability, improves the ability to do activities of daily living (bathing, grooming, toileting, dressing), and improved mood.

Strength training One of the most important studies on brain health in the past decade showed that once-a-week and twice-a-week resistance training sessions over 12 months led to major improvements in older adults’ cognition and attention. Participants who trained for 20-minutes once a week experienced an 11% improvement. Those who trained for 20-minutes twice a week experienced a 13% improvement.