A new study from a team at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois is showing that there is a definite connection between having a health body and a healthy brain. This health news means that for those that have a higher level of cardiovascular fitness, they are also able to mentally process information at a higher level as well, compared to those that have a low level of cardiovascular fitness.
As we get older, it’s well known that the aging process affects both the body and the brain. This includes our memory as well as how fast our brains can process information. Previous research has shown that higher levels of cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular fitness in older adults leads to better executive function in the brain, which helps with problem solving and reasoning.
“Previous studies have shown that there’s a relationship between cardiorespiratory fitness and behavioral performance in older adults. Other studies have looked at cardiorespiratory fitness and brain function, but really linking all three of those hasn’t been quite been done as explicitly as we did in this paper,” said Chelsea Wong, a M.D./Ph.D. student at the University of Illinois and first author on the paper, published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.
The team, led by Art Kramer, Beckman Institute director and professor of psychology and neuroscience at Illinois, examined brain imaging and fitness level data from 128 adults between the ages of 59-80.
“We know that as people age, executive function declines, so we found that with higher cardiorespiratory fitness, you can enhance executive function performance behaviorally as well as executive function-related brain activation,” said Wong. “This research adds to our growing understanding of the relationship among physical activity and cognitive and brain function–and suggests that we can improve our brain health by changing our lifestyle even as we age,” said Kramer.
What this means for you is – keeping fit as you get older is not just important for your body, but also for your brain!
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Story Source: The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.