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The impact of aerobic activity on cognitive function in older adults: A new synthesis based on the concept of executive control

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Numerous reaction time studies have suggested that age-related declines in cognitive function might be ameliorated by lifestyles involving aerobic activity or by interventionist programmes of aerobic exercise. These studies are far from conclusive, however, reflecting a failure to factor out cognitive from sensory and motor processes. Following a critical review of the literature, we report on recent developments that differentiate cognitive processes involving executive vs non-executive control, the former being associated with frontal lobe function. Three key studies suggest that aerobic exercise primarily improves executive control.

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: University of Texas at Austin, USA 2: Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA 3: University of Oregon, Eugene, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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