At the same time, two studies were released early online in Archives of Internal Medicine documenting similar conclusions. In the first analysis, 2,809 participants average 72yo with known heart disease in the Women's Antioxidant Cardiovascular Study (WACS) were questioned regarding physical activity every two years while cognitive function was assessed 4 times over 9+years. Those who engaged in the highest quintile of physical activity, equivalent to daily brisk walking for 30 minutes, had slower loss of cognitive decline, comparable to being 5-7 years younger.
In the second study, 197 participants average 75yo in the Health, Aging & Body Composition (Health ABC) study had their total body energy expenditure (TBEE) and resting metabolic rate (RMR) measured along with cognitive function. Consistent with the more typical self-reported physical activity, the higher one's objectively measured active energy expenditure (AEE=TBEE-RMR), the the lower one's risk for cognitive impairment.
editorialist commented that ongoing maintenance of physical activity is a worthwhile recommendation for all our patients as we age. I have yet to read about a downside to physical activity that outweighed the benefits gained. So let's get out there and do something! Go set a better, more active, example for our patients.