This study examined whether chronic physical exercise activity is associated with better neurocognitive performance in older adults. One hundred five men participated in 1 of 3 age groups (18-28, 35-45, and 60-73). For each age group, subjects were classified as high or low in fitness on the basis of self-reported activity levels and the results of a submaximal bicycle ergometer test. A comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests was administered to each subject, and older subjects scored significantly lower than the younger groups on most tests. Significant differences between high- and low-fit subjects were found only on tasks with heavy visuospatial demands, and these differences were most notable in the older adult group. These findings suggest that participation in aerobic exercise activity selectively preserves some cognitive functions that normally decline with age. The benefits of activity appear to be most evident on tasks that require visuospatial processing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology