Data from the very large, long-running UK National Child Development Study has revealed that those who exercised at least four times weekly as both a child and an adult performed better on cognitive tests at age 50 than those who exercised two to three times per month or less, and the latter in turn performed better than those who hadn’t regularly exercised at all.
The data was collected through face-to-face interviews of more than 9,000 people at the ages of 11, 16, 33, 42, 46, and 50. Cognitive score was based on an immediate and delayed recall task (ten unrelated words), ability to name as many animals as possible in one minute, and time taken to cross out specified letters in a series.
The findings add a further perspective to the pile of evidence for the value of regular exercise in fighting age-related cognitive decline.
(2013). Leisure-time physical activity over the life course and cognitive functioning in late mid-adult years: a cohort-based investigation.
Psychological Medicine. FirstView, 1 - 12.