Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a level of cognition loss between that due to normal aging and that of dementia. MCI typically impacts one’s memory, their ability to process information, as well as their ability to use a full vocabulary, and their judgement at levels greater than those of normal aging. Further, those afflicted with MCI are at greater risk for dementia than those without. At present, there is no evidence or research to support the use of pharmacological treatments for MCI. However, new recommendations released by The American Academy of Neurology shows that regular exercising sessions for those with MCI is likely to boost their cognitive abilities, while additional cognitive training may improve their abilities as well.
While no long-term studies are presently available linking physical exercise to a boost in cognition, there are multiple six-month studies that show a benefit of regular weekly exercise sessions for those with MCI. With more than 6 percent of people in their 60s and more than 37 percent of people 85 and older having MCI, the recommendations for exercise are aerobically based. A baseline of 150 minutes a week is recommended and it can be made up of five 30 minute sessions, three 50 minute sessions, or any comparable breakdown. The aim is to work up a sweat, walking briskly or lightly jogging, but refraining from any sort of rigorous activity that would prevent holding a conversation.
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Ronald C. Petersen, Oscar Lopez, Melissa J. Armstrong, Thomas S.D. Getchius, Mary Ganguli, David Gloss, Gary S. Gronseth, Daniel Marson, Tamara Pringsheim, Gregory S. Day, Mark Sager, James Stevens, Alexander Rae-Grant. Practice guideline update summary: Mild cognitive impairment. Neurology, 2017; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004826