“Smell detection” and “smell identification” scores appear to be significantly better in older adults who exercise by practising tai chi, dancing or running than those who walk or who do not exercise at all

In April 2020 researchers from China published the results of their study to assess the effect of various types of physical exercise on the decline in the sense of smell in aging. The researchers stated that both aging and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, have been associated with impairment in the sense of smell. A total of 99 healthy individuals (85 women; average age 62.5 years) were involved in the study. Information was collected via questionnaire, cognitive test and a smell test. Each individual was given a “smell detection” score as well as a “smell identification” score. Results showed that those individuals who had exercised regularly for more than 1 year (more than 30 min three times/week) had a significantly higher “smell identification” score than those for non-exercisers, as well as significantly higher “smell detection” scores. A further analysis revealed that both the “smell detection” and “smell identification” scores were significantly better in those who exercised by practising tai chi, dancing or running than those who exercised by walking or who did not exercise.

Zhang C et al. Role of physical exercise type in olfactory deterioration in ageing. Rhinology. 2020 Apr 1;58(2):145-150

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