A fitter body may equal a fitter brain in old age

Older men and women who are physically fit show fewer age-related changes in their brains.

Older men and women who are physically fit show fewer age-related changes in their brains, according to new research.

Researchers at the University of Arizona have found a clear relationship between exercise and healthier aging brains. They found the more physically fit an elderly person was, the fewer age-related brain changes. It helps support the idea that regular exercise can preserve parts of the brain involved with attention and memory.

“Better brain aging is associated with better physical fitness,” psychologist Gene Alexander at the University of Arizona’s Brain Imaging, Behavior & Aging Laboratory, told the Wall Street Journal.

Researchers studied 58 men and 65 women between the ages of 50 and 89 years old. They analyzed each person’s aerobic fitness on a treadmill, then compared it with patterns of neural activation in the brain.

“Your level of physical fitness may be an important factor in delaying brain aging,” Alexander said.