Scientific research regarding the effect that the performance of exercise and sport has on the congenitive capacity of older adults. The results are quite clear in that sense: physical exercise is key so that older people get older in a healthier way, keep their cognitive abilities in better condition and be independent for longer. From the exercise of cardio, going through the HIIT and even doing activities such as dance, our better adults protect their cognitive health.
However, there has not been so much research on its effect on the cognitive abilities of younger people. Perhaps because good cognitive ability in young people is almost taken for granted and we do not usually have the need to carry out concrete activities to maintain it. However, it is interesting that we know what its effect on our intellectual abilities is.
Recent research finds that regular aerobic activities such as walking, biking or climbing stairs can improve cognitive and thinking skills – specifically the executive functions – of young people. Among these skills are to regulate their own behavior, to pay attention, to organize or to achieve goals and objectives.
To carry out this study, they had 132 participants aged between 20 and 67 years. These participants did not smoke or show signs of dementia, but did not exercise at all at the beginning of the study. The participants were randomly assigned different groups. In one of them they performed aerobic activities for six months. In the other, they performed stretching and some toning four times a week. The groups were balanced in age, gender, educational level and in memory and cognitive skills. Their cognitive abilities were measured at the beginning of the study, at three months and at the end of the study.
The results found that aerobic activity improved cognitive ability by increasing their cognitive functions by 0.50 points in the tests. Another thing they found is that the benefits of aerobic exercise seemed to increase with age. What would imply that over the years, the more exercise we do the more will favor our cognitive abilities. In any case, the sample is very small and only evaluates aerobic exercise, so it would be advisable to do studies with larger samples and the evaluation of other exercises.