According to recent research, stretching, balancing, and range-of-motion activities can reduce mild cognitive loss just as effectively as aerobic exercise.
Regular stretching, balance, and range-of-motion exercises can help reduce mild cognitive loss almost as effectively as cardiovascular exercise. Although it might seem improbable, recent research indicates that it is scientific.
On August 2, scientists revealed the findings at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego.
296 sedentary older people with a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment were monitored during the study (MCI). Alzheimer’s disease can result from this illness, but it’s not a guarantee.
At a moderate intensity of roughly 120 heartbeats per minute for 30 to 40 minutes, the aerobic workouts were to be performed by the other half of the participants on treadmills and stationary bikes. The remainder were instructed to carry out balancing, range-of-motion, and functional stretching exercises. For a year, the groups exercised alone on two days and twice a week with personal trainers.
Researchers ran brain scans and cognitive tests at the conclusion of the year. Neither group’s cognitive deterioration worsened, and scans showed no signs of brain shrinking. Aerobic exercise may improve executive function, attentional capacity, processing speed, episodic memory, and procedural memory, according to previous research from 2016. But some senior citizens can struggle to increase their physical exercise.
The study has a few restrictions.
First, prior studies have shown that those who perform no exercise at all suffer from serious cognitive deterioration. The National Institute on Aging reportedly told the AP that including non-exercisers in the same study could have improved the validity of the results.
“Typically, stretching is the control group in an exercise and brain health study, and this study could have incorporated a third group, which is an active control that only does stretching, to further elucidate what may be happening here,” Ryan Glatt, CPT, NBC-HWC, a California-based personal trainer and brain health coach for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.
One personal trainer also issues a warning, pointing out that the inclusion of other soft movements like balance exercises prevents the study from concluding that stretching alone reduces MCI.
However, the study offers some lessons. The study’s lessons for people and suggestions for incorporating mild movement into daily life were clarified by experts.