Physical activity in maintaining cognitive functioning in older age – Mini review of recent European studies

Jenni Kulmala

Abstract


Physical activity earlier in life is considered one of the key determinants of active and healthy older age. During the recent years, several population-based longitudinal studies with follow-up periods extending up to several decades have shown that physically active lifestyle is associated with better older age cognitive capacity and also decreased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies also show that increasing physical activity from mid- to late life have beneficial effects on later life cognition, which indicates that the window of opportunity for preventive physical activity interventions may extend from midlife to old age. Among older people, the first randomized controlled trials aiming to prevent cognitive decline through physical activity and especially multidomain lifestyle-based interventions have been recently conducted and promising results have been reported. This mini-review brings together information on life-long benefits of physically active lifestyle, focusing on the favorable effects on brain health.

Keywords


physical activity; ageing; dementia; review

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13165/SIIW-16-2-1-04

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