A new study indicates that exercise may play a key role in improving brain function in people living with HIV.
The study, published in the Journal of NeuroVirology, notes that neurocognitive impairment, or difficulties related to memory and thought processes, are prevalent among those with the virus.
However, its findings suggest that HIV-positive adults engaged in regular exercise were half as likely to have this impairment, which may affect such tasks as driving or remembering to take medications.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego, asked 335 HIV-positive participants if they had engaged in “any activity that increased heart rate” in the last three days. They found that the more physically active group showed significantly lower rates of neurocognitive impairment throughout a range of tests, which measured functions such as memory, motor skills, and verbal fluency.
"Exercise as a modifiable lifestyle behavior may reduce or potentially prevent neurocognitive impairment in HIV-infected persons," researcher David J. Moore stated. "Physical exercise, together with other modifiable lifestyle factors such as education, social engagement, cognitive stimulation, and diet could be fruitful interventions to support people living with HIV."