For the study, scientists followed more than 130 adults aged 20 to 67 years. Investigators discovered that Aerobic exercise overall increase of participants aptitude as well as their so-called executive function – a capacity for reflection that is the key to reasoning, planning and problem solving.
And while all ages benefited, brain gains increased with age, the results showed.
"Certainly what we see here is, in people who do not exerciseGetting them to exercise actually increases their abilities, "said author of the study, Yaakov Stern. This effect is not only important for the elderly, but also for the younger people. "
Stern is responsible for cognitive neuroscience at the College of Vagelos Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, New York.
Many studies have examined the impact of aerobics exercises on reasoning ability, but most have focused on older adults, noted Stern. His team decided to look for a broader age group. The researchers recruited 132 adults (70% female) from five fitness centers in New York.
One group did aerobic exercises 4 times a week for 24 weeks. the other has been assigned a drawing/ toning workout session. Those who practice aerobics wore heart rate monitors.
Participants' brain skills – including executive function, memory, processing speed, language, and attention – were tested initially, then at 12 and 24 weeks. Brain imaging was performed early and 24 weeks later.
After 24 weeks, executive skills improved significantly among aerobic exercise participants of all ages. No changes were noted in treatment speed, language, attention or memory of participants in the study.
The researchers were unable to determine why aerobic exercise was associated with an improvement in executive function.
"Exercise has a whole set of effects on the brain, and I do not know if we can attribute it clearly to one mechanism or another," Stern said.
Images of the brain have shown extra thickness in the brain's cortex, which is usually involved in speech and decision-making. But the authors of the study stated that the changes did not correspond directly to a specific change in thinking skills.