Aerobics boost brain power

Regular exercise and remaining physically active not only benefits the body, but also the mind, new research has found.

The study review by Hayley Guiney and Liana Machado from the University of Otago, New Zealand, focused on the importance of physical activity in keeping and potentially improving cognitive function throughout life.

Studies in older adults reviewed by the researchers consistently found that fitter individuals scored better in mental tests than their unfit peers, journal 'Springer' reported. Intervention studies found scores in mental tests improved in participants who were assigned to an aerobic exercise regimen compared to those assigned to stretch and tone classes.

Interestingly, these results were not replicated in children or young adults. The one area where physical fitness or regular exercise was found to have an effect on cognitive function in these age groups was for memory tasks.

Both the updating of working memory and the volume of information which could be held was better in fitter individuals or those put on an aerobic exercise regime.

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