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Physical activity has been proposed as one of the most effective strategies to prevent cognitive decline. Protein supplementation may exert an additive effect. The effect of resistance-type exercise training with or without protein supplementation on cognitive functioning in frail and pre-frail elderly people was assessed in a secondary analysis. Two 24-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled intervention studies were carried out in parallel. Subjects performed a resistance-type exercise program of two sessions per week (n = 62) or no exercise program (n = 65). In both studies, subjects were randomly allocated to either a protein (2 × 15 g daily) or a placebo drink. Cognitive functioning was assessed with a neuropsychological test battery focusing on the cognitive domains episodic memory, attention and working memory, information processing speed, and executive functioning. In frail and pre-frail elderly, resistance-type exercise training in combination with protein supplementation improved information processing speed (changes in domain score 0.08 ± 0.51 versus -0.23 ± 0.19 in the non-exercise group, p = 0.04). Exercise training without protein supplementation was beneficial for attention and working memory (changes in domain scores 0.35 ± 0.70 versus -0.12 ± 0.69 in the non-exercise group, p = 0.02). There were no significant differences among the intervention groups on the other cognitive tests or domain scores.
- aerobic exercise
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