Brain function associated with higher cardiorespiratory fitness plays a role in increased cognitive performance in older adults, according to a new study at the University of Illinois.
(September 11, 2015) The aging process is associated with declines in brain function, including memory and how fast our brain processes information, yet previous research has found that higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness in older adults leads to better executive function in the brain, which helps with reasoning and problem solving. Higher cardiorespiratory fitness levels have also been found to increase brain volume in key brain regions.
A new study from a team at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois reveals the connection between brain activation, cardiorespiratory fitness, and executive function in older adults, finding that dual-task processing in a core executive function brain region is associated with higher cardiorespiratory fitness and dual-task performance.
“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.