We have known that mental activity staves off cognitive impairment, and the same is known about exercise. But is it even more effective if seniors do both? It looks like the answer is yes.
Research involving seniors ages 70 to 93 demonstrated that any amount of moderate exercise in conjunction with using a computer during the previous year resulted in a 64% less likelihood of mild cognitive impairment compared with those who reported neither activity.
According to lead researcher, Yonas Ged, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, there was a significant additive effect when both exercise and the computer were employed. Geda and colleagues examined data from the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging, an ongoing population-based study of individuals living in Olmsted County, Minn. The analysis included 926 men and women who did not have dementia. The researchers controlled for age, sex, education, medical co-morbidity, and depression.
Among seniors who had normal cognition, 36% reported getting any moderate exercise and using a computer in the previous year. Among those with mild cognitive impairment, only 18.3% reported both exercise and computer use.
The study was reported in the May, 2012 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings and was supported by grants from the NIH and numerous foundations.