Adding cognitive games to exercise helps the adult mind: study

January 25, 2012

San Diego – Performing a combination of physical and mental exercises may help seniors’ minds stay sharp, according to a study scheduled for publication next month in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

Researchers compared riders (who were 58 to 99 years old) on traditional stationary bicycles to riders using bikes equipped with virtual-reality computer games to test riders’ planning, working memory, attention and problem-solving skills. The “cybercycle” riders had significantly better executive function than those who rode a traditional stationary bike, and “cybercyclists” experienced a 23 percent reduction in progression to mild cognitive impairment compared to traditional exercisers, according to the report.

The added mental exercise required in cybercycling was suggested as an explanation for the increased cognitive benefit, researchers said.