[Excerpts from the article] The EXCEL (EXercise for Cognition and Everyday Living) study was a 6-month randomized trial. Eighty-six community-dwelling women 70 to 80 years old were randomly allocated to twice-weekly resistance training (RT) (28 women), twice-weekly Aerobic Training (AT) (30 women), or twice-weekly balance and tone (BAT) training (control group) (28 women). Participants were classified as having probable mild cognitive impairment if they had a score lower than 26 out of 30 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment8 and had subjective memory complaints. . . .
In senior women with subjective memory complaints, 6 months of twice-weekly RT improved selective attention/conflict resolution, associative memory, and regional patterns of functional brain plasticity compared with twice-weekly BAT exercises. In contrast, 6 months of twice-weekly AT improved physical function. We provide novel evidence that RT can benefit multiple domains in those at risk for dementia.
While we previously demonstrated that 12 months of twice-weekly RT significantly improved Stroop Test performance in cognitively healthy women 65 to 75 years old, (3) our current study found an improvement after only 6 months in women 70 to 80 years old with probable mild cognitive impairment. Thus, the benefits of RT on selective attention/conflict resolution may be more potent among those at greater risk for dementia.
Baker et al (6) previously demonstrated that 6 months of AT improved selective attention/conflict resolution and set shifting performance in older women with amnestic mild cognitive impairment. This may be attributed to differences in both the frequency and intensity of AT between the 2 studies. In addition, our study participants were older and had lower baseline Mini-Mental State Examination scores.
We also demonstrated that 6 months of RT twice-weekly significantly improved associative memory performance, co-occurring with positive functional changes in hemodynamic activity in regions involved in the memorization of associations. (10) Impaired associative memory is a hallmark of early stages of Alzheimer disease.
“Resistance Training Promotes Cognitive and Functional Brain Plasticity in Seniors With Probable Mild Cognitive Impairment” Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(8):666-668
Resistance training is a specific component of any strength training routine. Technically put, resistant training is any exercise performed against an opposing force produced by a resistance. This resistance can be made from pushing, squeezing, pulling or bending. http://everything-about-pilates.com/resistance-training/