A recent study showed that engaging in mild exercise offers benefits to cognitive function in older adults.
Previous research demonstrated that moderate to high-intensity aerobic exercise yielded positive results in brain health in older adults but getting older adults to participate in and continue with high-intensity exercise can be challenging.
A new study (results published in GeroScience) was conducted by researchers at the University of California - Irvine and University of Tsukuba and focused on the impact of long-term mild aerobic exercise on brain function in older adults.
Study participants were between the ages of 55-78 and were were divided into two groups. The "exercise" group took part in low-intensity bicycle exercise three times a week for three months while the control group just went about their daily routine. Researchers evaluated both groups' executive function using a Stroop test and analyzed prefrontal cortex activity during the task using functional near-infrared spectropscopy before and after the activity.
The results showed that the exercise group had significant improvement in executive function compared to the control group. The greatest benefit in the exercise group was found in participants aged 68 - 78.
Researchers hope that these findings will help with the development of exercise routines for older adults with low physical fitness levels and low motivation levels.