In a study of 172 people aged 60-85, Perth researchers showed that a combination of physical and mental activity improved verbal memory (but failed to show benefits for other areas such as executive functions that control focus, attention to details and goal setting, or for visual memory, processing speed or attention). Physical exercise had the most profound and constant effect.
The researchers divided the people into 4 groups for the 16 week study:
- Walked three days a week for an hour and did 40 minutes of resistance training twice a week
- Completed an hour-long computer brain-training exercises five days a week
- Undertook both the physical exercise and the computer activities.
- Maintained their regular routines.
Only group 3 showed a positive improvement.
Translational Psychiatry 2014