He found two things. First, both exercise groups saw improvements in memory and some other brain functions at the end of one year. However, those with higher levels of intellect at the beginning of the study did best with resistance training.
Back to our patient and caregiver, Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Both were recommended a supervised exercise regimen consisting of daily walking, twice-weekly resistance training, and balance exercises -- the latter to decrease the risk of dangerous falls.
There is growing evidence that what is good for the heart is good for the brain. This would include controlling high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, smoking and lack of exercise, all risk factors for strokes and heart attacks.
Regular exercise is a tool that Alzheimer's patients and their at-risk family members can use to improve memory and brain functions and possibly to delay or decrease the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. George Grossberg is the Samuel A. Fordyce Professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and past president of the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry and of the International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA).