Older adults who keep their bodies in shape may be keeping their minds fit as well, according to a study published.
In a study of 460 79-year-olds, UK researchers found that those who performed well on a series of fitness tests also tended to score higher on tests of cognitive abilities, such as verbal skills and proficiency with numbers and spatial organization. The findings suggest that staying fit later in life may slow the development of dementia.
The results are in line with other studies that have linked fitness to better mental performance. In this case, the researchers had some key additional information: study participants’ childhood IQ scores.
All of the men and women had participated in a study that measured their IQ at age 11. Childhood IQ is important because in addition to affecting adulthood cognitive ability, it may sway a person’s odds of staying fit into old age.
But among these study participants, physical fitness seemed to preserve mental acuity regardless of childhood IQ, according to the researchers, led by Dr. Ian J. Deary of the University of Edinburgh.
The findings, Deary explained, suggest that for two people starting out with the same IQ at age 11, the one who’s fitter at age 79 will tend to have better cognitive function.
For the study, the elderly participants took the same cognitive tests that they did at age 11. Their physical fitness was measured in three ways: a walking test, a test of handgrip strength and a test of lung function.
The researchers found that while higher childhood IQ was related to better lung function at age 79, it did not affect the other two fitness measures. All three fitness measures, however, were related to the elderly adults’ cognitive function.
Though it’s not clear why fitness might forestall dementia, one possibility is that it’s by lowering the risks of physical conditions — like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease — that may affect the brain.
Deary said that, according to the “common cause” hypothesis, mental function in old age is closely tied to other aspects of “bodily well-being,” including fitness.
In addition, some animal research has suggested that exercise has direct beneficial effects on brain cells.
The current study was not designed to test whether exercise improves cognitive abilities. But Deary said that one recent analysis of past studies found that fitness training might benefit older adults’ mental function.
Dr. Keith and Laurie Nemec’s comments on physical fitness prevents dementia
What this study shows was that staying fit later in life may slow the development of dementia. Interestingly enough when two people starting out with the same I.Q. at age eleven, the one who was fitter at age 79 will tend to have better cognitive function. Well let’s just talk about that. Of course you’d have better cognitive function if you exercise, because exercise moves the toxins out of the body and brings the oxygen and nutrients into the cells and this keeps the cells healthy. Whether they are brain cells, heart cells, lung cells, liver cells, whatever cells, whatever gland, organ or tissue, you are going to be healthier when you exercise. This was focusing on cognitive function, thinking processes.
But it can relate to any organ, gland system of the body. Also was stated was mental function and old age is closely tied to other aspects of body well being including fitness. We liked what this researcher said, causes the common cause hypothesis, when he uses the term bodily well being tied to other aspects of bodily well being. Because it’s when you live a lifestyle of the proper 7 Basic Steps to Total Health each and every day of your life, it ties into the whole bodily well being as they call it, or as we call it total health of body, mind and spirit. And fitness or exercise is one of the 7 Basic Steps. Also stated was fitness training might benefit older adults mental function. So, in this study, they found that not only does it possibly slow or prevent dementia; in this study it showed that it might reverse it. So, what you need to know is your brain is another organ in the body and one of the most important organs because it controls all others. But still it is an organ of the body, it is made of cells and whatever you can do to get food, nutrition, oxygen into the cell and waste products and toxins and any other byproducts metabolism out of the cells, the healthier those cells are going to be, the better they are going to function, the longer they are going to live.