J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2016 Nov 18;:
OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the potential of physical exercise habit as a lifestyle modification against cognitive and functional decline at the community level.
METHODS: A total of 454 community-dwelling Chinese older adults without dementia participated in the Hong Kong Memory and Ageing Prospective Study at baseline and follow-up at 5 years. Their cognitive and functional performances were assessed by the Cantonese version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (CMMSE) and the Chinese version of Disability Assessment in Dementia (DAD). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were performed to examine whether physical exercise was a significant predictor of the follow-up CMMSE and DAD scores after controlling for the covariates. Subgroup analyses were performed with a group of 127 participants with mild cognitive impairment at baseline.
RESULTS: Physical exercise habit was a significant predictor for both the follow-up CMMSE scores and DAD scores. Participants with exercise habits of 5 years or more showed better cognitive and functional performances at follow-up. Participants who picked up exercise habits only after the baseline assessment also demonstrated better functioning at follow-up. The same patterns were observed in the subgroup analyses with the mild cognitive impairment group.
CONCLUSION: Results suggested that prolonged exercise habit is required for positive effects on cognition to emerge, but benefits on functioning can be observed when individuals take up an exercise habit later in life or even after the beginning of cognitive decline. These findings are encouraging in promoting an exercise habit among older adults living in the community.