Association between mind-body and cardiovascular exercises and memory in older adults.

Author: Chan AS, Ho YC, Cheung MC, Albert MS, Chiu HF, Lam LC.
Department of Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong SAR, China.
Conference/Journal: J Am Geriatr Soc
Date published: 2005 Oct
Other: Volume ID: 53 , Issue ID: 10 , Pages: 1754-60 , Word Count: 246

OBJECTIVES: To compare the memory function of older adults who regularly practiced mind-body (MB) or cardiovascular (CV) exercises with that of those who did not engage in regular exercise. Older adults who engaged in both types of exercise were also included to examine the combined effects. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study between 2002 and 2003. SETTING: Older adults from a local community in Hong Kong. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred forty adults aged 56 and older. MEASUREMENTS: The Hong Kong List Learning Test was used to assess the memory of all participants. It is a clinically validated Chinese verbal-memory test that measures various aspects of memory processing, including learning, retention, and retrieval abilities. MB and CV exercises were defined using three dimensions: motion speed, emphasis on relaxing the mind, and conscious control of movement. RESULTS: Older adults who practiced MB or CV exercises demonstrated a similar level of memory function, and their learning and memory was better than that of individuals who did not exercise regularly. Those who practiced both types of exercises outperformed all other groups, even after corrected for the total hours of exercise. Although memory change across age was found in older adults who did not exercise, this trend was not observed in individuals who practiced MB exercises. CONCLUSION: Practicing both MB and CV exercises appears to have a combined effect that might help to preserve memory in older adults. In addition, MB exercises may be considered as an alternative training for older adults who cannot practice strenuous physical exercise.