Exercise level and cognitive decline: The MoVIES project

Mary Ellen Lytle, Joni Vander Bilt, Rajesh S. Pandav, Hiroko H. Dodge, Mary Ganguli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Growing evidence suggests that physical exercise may be protective against cognitive impairment and decline. A prospective study of a representative rural community sample (N = 1,146) aged 65+ years examined self-reported exercise habits and measured global cognitive function using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). A composite variable "exercise level" combining type, frequency, and duration of exercise was created with three levels: "high exercise" (aerobic exercise of ≥ 30 minute duration ≥ 3 times a week), "low exercise" (all other exercise groups), and "no exercise." Cognitive decline was defined as being in the 90 th percentile of decline in this cohort, ie, declining by 3 or more MMSE points during the 2-year interval between two assessments. In a multiple regression model, high exercise level at the baseline assessment was negatively associated with, ie, was protective against, being in the group with the greatest amount of decline at the follow-up assessment, after adjusting for likely confounders (odds ratio = 0.39; 95% confidence interval, 0.19, 0.78). When high exercise was redefined using frequency as ≥ 5 days per week as the threshold, as per the Surgeon General's guidelines, both low exercise and high exercise were negatively associated with cognitive decline. Exercise may have implications for prevention of cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalAlzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive status
  • Epidemiology
  • Exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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