Exercise keeps the body, and mind, in tiptop shape, according to a review of published studies on the topic. Taken together, the data suggest that exercise and physical activity may slow age-related declines in cognitive function, the reviewers conclude.
Moreover, fitness training may improve some mental processes even more than moderate activity.
"Although we clearly still have much to learn about the relationship between physical activity and cognition, what we currently know suggests that physical activity can help keep us both healthy and mentally fit," Dr. Arthur F. Kramer told Reuters Health.
Kramer, from the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois in Urbana, presented his team's work this week at the annual gathering of the American Psychological Association. The research is scheduled for publication in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.
In an effort to resolve the "varied opinions" on the impact of exercise on cognitive functioning, Kramer and colleagues conducted an "up-to-date" review of the scientific literature on the subject.
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