Effects of a Physical Activity Program that Incorporates Exercises Targeting Balance, Strength, and Proprioception on Cognitive Functions and Physical Performance in Old Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment

Author: Ayoub Boulares1, Claudine Fabre2, Ala Cherni3, Hela Jdidi4, Sabri Gaied Chortane1,5, Carlo Trompetto6,7, Luca Puce6, Nicola Luigi Bragazzi8
1 Research Laboratory (LR23JS01) "Sport Performance, Health & Society" Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Ksar Said, University of "La Manouba", Tunisia.
2 Univ. Lille, Univ. Artois, Univ. Littoral Côte d'Opale, URePSSS - Unité de Recherche Pluridisciplinaire Sport Santé Société, Lille, France.
3 Research Unit: Sports Science, Health and Movement, UR22JS01, High Institute of Sport and Physical Education of Kef, University of Jendouba, Tunisia.
4 University of Poitiers, Laboratory Move-UR 20296, Faculty of Sports Sciences, Poitiers, France.
5 Laboratory of Cardio-Circulatory, Respiratory, Metabolic and Hormonal Adaptations to Muscular Exercise, Faculty of Medicine Ibn El Jazzar, University of Sousse, Sousse, Tunisia.
6 Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health (DINOGMI), University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.
7 Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS) Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy.
8 Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Laboratory for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (LIAM), York University, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Conference/Journal: J Alzheimers Dis
Date published: 2023 Sep 21
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.3233/JAD-230305. , Word Count: 262

Aging often leads to cognitive function decline, sensory structure deterioration, and musculoskeletal system weakening. This impacts postural control during static and dynamic activities like walking, increasing the fall risk among the elderly. Older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) face an elevated fall risk and cognitive decline, magnifying the public health concern.

This study aimed to explore solutions by investigating the effects of a multi-component physical activity program on cognitive and motor functions in MCI patients.

Twenty-three participants were enrolled in the study and assigned into two groups: an intervention group (n = 13; age = 85.7±5.5 years) and a control group (n = 9; age = 85±6.7 years). The study spanned two months, with participants engaging in three 60-minute weekly physical exercise sessions. The intervention focused on improving proprioception, muscle strength, and balance.

Results demonstrated significant enhancements in physical performance, fall risk reduction, and balance (p < 0.05). Various tests, including the timed up and go test, Unipedal Stance test, Tinetti test, Short Physical Performance Battery, and 6-minute walking test, indicated these improvements. Cognitive function was evaluated with the Mini-Mental State Examination, revealing non-significant progress (p > 0.05). Predictive models for outcomes were developed using linear regression analysis during the follow-up stage.

This study underscores the effectiveness of a multi-component physical activity program encompassing balance, proprioception, and muscle-strengthening exercises as a non-pharmaceutical approach in improving balance skills and playing a key role in mitigating the risk of falls among old adults with MCI.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; balance; cognitive functions; fall risk; mild cognitive impairment; motor functions; multi-component physical exercise; older adults; proprioception.

PMID: 37742641 DOI: 10.3233/JAD-230305