Regular aerobic exercise, such as cycling or walking on a treadmill, can have a significant impact on the brain’s executive function, according to a new study. The focus of the study was to slow or possibly prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The study involved more than 20 healthy adults who had a sedentary lifestyle.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are increasingly a burden on public health problems, and the disease is expected to surge in the coming generations as health care improves and people live longer. Genetic and lifestyle risk factors for these diseases are known, but no effective solutions have been found to prevent the disease from occurring or slow its development.
On the lifestyle front, studies over the past few years have found that certain dietary and activity habits are associated with a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and a slower development. Lifestyle factors such as fitness may play a preventive role, and according to a new study, aerobic fitness can play an important role in brain health.
The study involved 23 adults who were described as “cognitively normal” but had a genetic or family risk of Alzheimer’s disease. At the beginning of the study, all of these participants had a sedentary lifestyle. After testing and measuring their daily levels of activity and glucose metabolism in the brain, the researchers divided the participants into two groups.
They provided a group of participants with information about how to maintain an active lifestyle. They assigned another group of participants the task of conducting three moderate-intensity treadmill training sessions per week over a 26-week period. The researchers found that the second group of participants showed improved cognitive performance in tests related to brain executive function.
By the end of the 26-week period, the lifestyle of the running crew also improved and improved cardiopulmonary health. The study said it was linked to improved glucose metabolism in parts of the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The results suggest that taking moderate-intensity aerobic exercise several times a week may be a simple lifestyle change that will help protect brain health from these diseases.