From Medical Xpress:

Credit: Peter Griffin/public domain

Could staying physically active improve quality of life by delaying cognitive decline and prolonging an independent lifestyle? A new study has found that older adults who take more steps either by walking or jogging perform better on memory tasks than those who are more sedentary.

The study examines the relationship between , and cognition in young and old adults. It appears online in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

The study included 29 (ages 18-31) and 31 (ages 55-82) who wore a small device called an ActiGraph, which recorded information including how many steps each took, how vigorous the steps were and how much time it involved. Participants also completed to assess their memory, planning and problem-solving abilities. In addition to standardized neuropsychological tasks of executive function (planning and organization abilities) and long-term memory, participants engaged in a laboratory task in which they had to learn face-name associations.

The researchers found that older adults who took more steps per day had better memory performance. The association between the number of steps taken was strongest with a task that required recalling which name went with a person’s face—the same type of everyday task that older adults often have difficulty with. In young adults, the number of taken was not associated with memory performance.

According to the researchers these findings demonstrate that the effects of physical activity extend to long-term memory—the same type of memory that…

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