Researchers combed the medical literature for the best trials comparing the effect of exercise vs no exercise on four “domains,” or types of cognitive ability: executive function (planning and prioritizing), memory, language ability, and visual-spatial ability.
They found that, across 11 high-quality studies, exercise improved cognitive function in each domain. The greatest effect was in language ability, followed in order by executive function, memory, and visuospatial ability.
Zhou XL, et al. Effects of exercise interventions for specific cognitive domains in old adults with mild cognitive impairment: a meta-analysis and subgroup analysis of randomized controlled trials. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020;99(31):e20105. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000020105.