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Fit Seniors Are Quicker Thinkers

Those who get regular exercise stay sharper, says new research

SUNDAY, June 30, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Fit senior citizens who get regular exercise may not only be more spry in the pool or on the tennis court than their couch-potato peers -- they may also be able to think quicker in tight situations.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers examined the connection between physical activity and cognitive responses of senior citizens. Their findings were presented at the recent annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The study included 32 people divided into four categories. Three of those were older adults who reported low, moderate, and high levels of physical activity. The fourth category was a control group of college-age adults.

The researchers measured responses to neuro-electric stimuli. They found the responses in the highly active senior citizens more closely resembled those of the young adults than those of the other seniors who reported low or moderate levels of physical activity.

Overall, the researchers said in a statement, the study shows that "increased amounts of physical activity affect cognitive functioning related to more effortful processing results in older adults."

More information

The National Institute on Aging offers exercise tips for feeling fit for life.

SOURCE: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, news release, June 2002
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