Study Yields ‘Exercise Dose’ for Aging Americans

An answer to the question ‘how much is enough’

Preserving mental sharpness is the highest priority of most aging Americans, and one of the best ways doctors suggest to achieve this goal is regular exercise. But how much is enough? Is there such a thing as too much exercise?

Now, thanks to research led by researchers at the Berenson-Allen Center for Noninvasive Brain Stimulation at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and published online today in Neurology: Clinical Practice, we are closer to an answer.

Interventions that had individuals exercising for at least 52 hours over a period of six months led to the greatest improvement in thinking abilities. Additionally, the most stable improvements in thinking abilities were found in mental processing speed, both in healthy older adults and individuals with mild cognitive impairment.

“While there is solid evidence to suggest that maintaining a regular exercise regimen can improve brain health we were most interested in how we could practically apply these scientific findings to the lives of our patients, their family members and even to ourselves,” said corresponding author Joyce Gomes-Osman, PT, PhD, a post-doctoral research scholar at the Berenson-Allen Center and assistant professor at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Researchers searched medical literature for randomized controlled trials testing the connection between exercise programs and cognition. They ended up selecting just under 100 trials for inclusion in their review.


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