An exercise program that challenges the mind while mimicking daily tasks may improve mental functioning in older adults with mild cognitive decline, according to a new study.
The trial found significant positive changes, lasting several months, among seniors with memory and thinking changes serious enough to be noticed by others but not so severe as to interfere with daily life, Khaleej times reported.
“I think it’s an interesting study and it adds to the evidence that physical as well as cognitive abilities could help with increasing cognitive function in older adults,” Dr. Zaldy Tan told.
Tan, who was not involved in the study, is medical director of the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program at the University of California, Los Angeles.
People with so-called mild cognitive impairment are at increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. But past research shows that both exercise and mental stimulation can spur the brain to make new cells, which might reverse or delay mental decline, according to the study team.
The FcTSim program includes tasks such as placing and collecting cups and bowls with specific rules and patterns of movement.
“Daily functional tasks are innately cognitive-demanding and involve components of stretching, strengthening, balance and endurance as seen in traditional exercise programs,” the authors write in Age and Ageing.
“Although the functional tasks involved in the FcTSim program are simple placing/collection tasks that most people may do in their everyday life, complex cognitive interplays are required to enable us to see, reach and place the objects to the target position,” they write.