Exercise – The link between activity and cognition

The Intense Physical Activity and Cognition (IPAC) study was a collaboration between Murdoch University and Alzheimer’s Research Australia.

The study examined 99 older adults who undertook 6 months of high-intensity or moderate intensity exercise (or were part of the control group) and was completed in 2020.

The research team’s analysis of the IPAC study found that people who experienced the biggest improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness gained the greatest benefits in terms of improvement on tasks assessing memory and executive function.

Researchers continue to examine data from IPAC in conjunction with data from the ongoing AIBL study to investigate the benefit of physical activity in lowering the risk of developing dementia. While researchers are still working through the data and preparing to publish secondary findings, initial conclusions were that while high-intensity exercise caused a greater increase in fitness, it did not show a direct impact on the progression of symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

The impact

Research in the field continues to examine the factors influencing individuals’ unique responses to exercise interventions.