Exercise for cognitive brain health in aging: A systematic review for an evaluation of dose

Joyce Gomes-Osman, Danylo F. Cabral, Timothy P. Morris, Katalina McInerney, Lawrence P. Cahalin, Tatjana Rundek, Augusto Oliveira, Alvaro Pascual-Leone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Purpose of review We systematically appraised randomized controlled trials proposing exercise to influence cognition in older adults to (1) assess the methodologic quality using Cochrane criteria; (2) describe various exercise dose measures and assess their relationship with improved cognitive performance; and (3) identify consistent patterns of reported effects on cognition. Recent findings There was overall good methodologic quality in all 98 included studies. The assessment of the relationship between improved cognition and various measures of exercise dose (session duration, weekly minutes, frequency, total weeks, and total hours) revealed a significant correlation with total hours. Improvements in global cognition, processing speed/attention, and executive function were most stable and consistent. Summary We found that exercising for at least 52 hours is associated with improved cognitive performance in older adults with and without cognitive impairment. Exercise modes supported by evidence are aerobic, resistance (strength) training, mind-body exercises, or combinations of these interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-265
Number of pages9
JournalNeurology: Clinical Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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