Study: Exercise May Help Slow Cognitive Decline

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A new research study[1] shows that exercise may help slow cognitive deterioration in some people with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that affects the nervous system, which leads to shivering, stiffness, and trouble with walking, balance, and coordination. A new study published on the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, tells that exercise may help slow cognitive decline for some people with the disease.

Group fitness workout
Can exercise like this group workout help slow cognitive decline as you age? That’s what this study attempted to determine.

What was the Goal of the Research Study?

The goal of the study is to learn whether more significant physical activity could change the negative association of APOE ε4 with longitudinal cognitive differences in early Parkinson’s disease. APOE e4 is a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The study was also conducted to reveal the disease-specific mechanism for resolving the benefits of physical activity.

Workout in winter? dress warm and follow these tips
Exercise: good for the body and the brain?

What were the Research Methods of the Study?

A total of 173 people with early Parkinson’s disease were included in the study. They were 63 years old during the study and were 59 years old when they acquired the disease. 27% of them had the APOE e4 gene variant. Their leisure, household, and work activities were reported with a questionnaire on how much activity they had in the previous week. Before the start of the study, their thinking skills were tested and repeated every year for two years. The scores at the beginning of the study averaged 26 points. The test scores of those with the APOE e4 gene variant decreased by an average of 1.33 points at the end of the study in contrast to those without the variant. Researchers also found out that higher physical activity at the beginning of the study decreased APOE e4-related cognitive decline after two years by an average of 0.007 points.

What were the Results and Conclusions of the Findings?

Based on the study, there was a symbolic interaction between physical exercise and APOE ε4 – the higher physical activity was related to slower APOE ε4-related cognitive decline. Increased physical activity weakened APOE ε4-related vulnerability to early cognitive deterioration in PD patients.

Body-weight exercises include lunges, and more
The lunge is another body-weight exercise you can add to your routine.

Recommendations for Fitness Trainees Based on the Research

Physical activity, whether intentional exercises daily or household and work activities, can help slow down cognitive decline in some people with Parkinson’s Disease. Exercises like running, brisk walking, yoga, biking, dancing, weight training, and other exercises that target flexibility, balance, agility, and coordination can help manage the disease. It is vital to choose an activity that you enjoy doing so it won’t be like a burden, or join a group or class to keep you motivated.


1. “Exercise May Help Slow Cognitive Decline in Some People with Parkinson’s Disease”

2. “Association of Physical Activity and APOE Genotype With Longitudinal Cognitive Change in Early PD”