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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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Exercise is the ‘elixir of youth’ for brain function

New research from Japan looking at cognitive performance in older men has found that regular exercise can help the brain hold back the sands of time and perform in the same way as it did in years gone by.

There have been long-held connections between physical and mental fitness, but to date, little has been known about how exercise impacts on brain function.

However, a new study led by Dr Hideaki Soya from the University of Tsukuba in Japan – published in the latest volume of the journal NeuroImage – has shed light on the direct relationship between brain activity, brain function and physical fitness in a group of older Japanese men. The fitter men were shown to have far greater cognitive skills, with their brains defying ageing patterns to perform in the same way as those decades younger.

In the study, 60 older men (aged 64-75 years) underwent an exercise test to measure their aerobic fitness. The men, whose physical fitness was found to vary widely, then performed a test to measure their selective attention, executive function and reaction time. Activity in the mens’ brains was measured throughout the test using a unique neuroimaging technique called functional near infrared spectroscopy or fNIRS.

Based on their findings, the researchers found that fitter men tend to use the more youth-like side of their brains to carry out tasks. The researchers are now looking to explore whether the same patterns apply in the brains of older females.

“One possible explanation suggested by the research is that the volume and integrity of the white matter in the part of brain that links the two sides declines with age,” said Professor Soya.

“There is some evidence to support the theory that fitter adults are able to better maintain this white matter than less fit adults, but further study is needed to confirm this theory.”

The findings serve to further underline the importance of exercise in relation to ageing. They follow findings from the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) that raising fitness levels in later life can boost brain function. The research indicated that the intensity of the exercise appeared to matter more than the duration, backing up previous conclusions.

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New research from Japan looking at cognitive performance in older men has found that regular exercise can help the brain hold back the sands of time and perform in the same way as it did in years gone by.
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Debit Finance Collections DFC
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