The exercise group did strength training, aerobics and exercises to improve balance, for one year.
Those in the exercise group showed improvement on a memory task and tests gauging their ability to use language compared to those in the education group, although both groups showed memory improvements, the researchers said.
"There is a lot of evidence out there suggesting that exercises can be beneficial for you in a whole variety of ways, whether it's reducing risk of obesity and weight gain or reducing inflammation," Erickson said. "Exercise is associated with an increased lifespan, and repeatedly has been shown to be associated with reducing risk of dementia. There looks like there is a very direct link between physical activity and the integrity of the brain."
Because this research is being presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
In addition, experts noted that while these studies found an association between exercise and healthier brain aging, the researchers didn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship.
The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more on Alzheimer's.
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