Healthline: Stretching May Help Slow Cognitive Decline as Well as Aerobic Exercise

Written by Beth Ann Mayer

Simple movement, including regular stretching, balance, and range of motion exercises, might be just as effective in slowing mild cognitive decline as aerobic exercises.

It may sound like a stretch, but new research suggests it’s science. Researchers presented the data at the 2022 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego on Aug. 2.

To perform the study, they followed 296 sedentary older adults already diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). This condition can lead to Alzheimer’s Disease, though it’s not a given.

Half of the participants were instructed to do aerobic exercises on treadmills and stationary bikes at a moderate intensity of about 120 heartbeats per minute for 30 to 40 minutes. The rest were told to perform functional stretching, balance, and range of motion exercises. The groups worked with a personal trainer twice per week and alone on two additional days for a year.