Skilled nursing providers may have a new method for improving memory problems in residents. A study found that aerobic exercises and a heart-healthy diet helped improve cognitive function for seniors. 

Seniors who exercised and followed the diet had a better ability to think, remember and make better decisions when compared to those who didn’t exercise or follow the diet, according to researchers. 

The study was conducted on 160 sedentary adults, ages 55 and older, who had cardiovascular disease risk factors and cognitive impairments with no dementia, over a six-month period. 

Seniors were placed in four different groups: the aerobic exercise group, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet group, combined exercise and diet group, and a group that just received standard health education.

The data “provides promising evidence that better executive function [one] year after completion of a six‐month exercise intervention can be sustained,” the authors wrote.  

The findings were published Nov. 22 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.