New University of Florida Study Finds Seniors Over Age 85 Who Exercise Scored Higher on Cognitive Tests

Valerie PatmintraBrain Health, Cognitive Aging, News, Research

New research led by neuroscientists in The University of Florida’s College of Public Health and Health Professions found seniors age 85-99 who regularly do both aerobic and strength-training exercises scored higher on cognitive tests than those who are sedentary or limit their exercise to only cardio.

The study, published July 31 in the journal GeroScience, included 184 cognitively healthy participants who self-reported their exercise habits and general physical activities and then underwent a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tasks to capture their cognitive abilities.

“We found that engagement in exercise in very old age appears related to better cognition, particularly for tasks requiring quick thinking and flexibility in approach. In addition, we found that the best performances on cognitive tasks were from individuals engaging in both aerobic exercises and strength training exercises.”

Lead Author Brian Ho, a Ph.D. Candidate in Clinical and Health Psychology

Nearly 70% of participants reported engaging in at least some form of physical exercise, a percentage that exceeded the researchers’ expectations, and suggest that exercising in older age is certainly feasible when in consultation with one’s doctor.

In addition to Ho and Ronald Cohen, Ph.D., his mentor and senior author of the paper, the research team included neuroscientists from UF’s Center for Cognitive Aging and Memory Clinical Translational Research; the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institutes at the University of Arizona, University of Miami and University of Alabama at Birmingham; and the University of Southern California.

Learn More About the Study

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