Can you remember the last time you put those running shoes on? No? Maybe that’s the problem….
This week in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society researchers have found that older adults who spent more time walking or jogging perform better than those who were sedentary on memory tasks.
The study was carried out on 29 young adults, whose age ranged from 18-31, and 31 older adults who were age 55-82. Both groups were monitored with a device, known as an ActiGraph, which tracked and recorded the number of steps taken by participants, as well as the duration and intensity of activity.
The authors emphasise that tracking was a key component of the study as previous research has assessed activity via a self-report strategy. This system may lead to biases or inaccurate data which tracking resolves.
As well as monitoring activity, the participants’ memory was tested. Neurophysiological testing was carried out to assess memory, planning and problem solving abilities. Additionally, long-term memory was tested using a face-to-name association test.
The results showed that the older adults who took a greater number of steps per day performed better in the face-to-name association test than their sedentary groupmates. However, no such correlation was found for the younger adults.
The researchers highlight the importance of the study by noting that the long-term memory is impacted. Long-term memory is also affected by aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Therefore the study suggests a further benefit to exercising – beyond helping tackle obesity.
So don’t forget to get those running shoes out!
Photo: Flickr,Hernán Piñera