aerobic fitness

Higher aerobic fitness levels are associated with better word production skills in healthy older adults

April 30, 2018

Science Daily/University of Birmingham

Researchers found that older adults' aerobic fitness levels are directly related to the incidence of age-related language failures such as 'tip-of-the-tongue' states.

 

Healthy older people who exercise regularly are less inclined to struggle to find words to express themselves, research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered.

 

Researchers found that older adults' aerobic fitness levels are directly related to the incidence of age-related language failures such as 'tip-of-the-tongue' states.

 

The research, published today in Scientific Reports, is the first of its kind to investigate the relationship between aerobic fitness levels and temporary cognitive lapses, such as not having a word come to mind when speaking -- known as a 'tip-of-the-tongue' state.

 

People in a tip-of-the-tongue state have a strong conviction that they know a word, but are unable to produce it, and this phenomena occurs more frequently as we grow older.

 

The University of Birmingham study -- carried out in collaboration with the University of Agder in Norway, the University of Leuven in Belgium and King's College London -- measured the occurrence of tip-of-the-tongue states in a psycholinguistic experiment.

 

The study saw a group of 28 healthy adults (20 women with the average age of 70 and 8 men with the average age of 67), being compared in a 'tip-of-the-tongue' language test to 27 young people (19 women with the average age of 23 and 8 men with the average age of 22).

 

The test involved a 'definition filling task', done on a computer. They were asked to name famous people in the UK, such as authors, politicians and actors, based on 20 questions about them. They were also given the definitions of 20 'low frequency' and 20 'easy' words and asked whether they knew the word relating to the definition.

 

The participants' underwent a static bike cycling test -- a gold standard test which quantified their ability to use oxygen during exercise and their resulting individual aerobic fitness levels.

 

Lead author Dr Katrien Segaert, of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology, said: "Older adults free from medical diseases still experience age-related cognitive decline.

 

"Significantly, what we found was that the degree of decline is related to one's aerobic fitness.

 

"In our study, the higher the older adults' aerobic fitness level, the lower the probability of experiencing a tip-of-the-tongue state.

 

"Importantly, our results also showed that the relationship between the frequency of tip-of-the-tongue occurrences and aerobic fitness levels exists over and above the influence of a person's age and vocabulary size."

 

Dr Segaert said that tip-of-the-tongue states are uniquely a problem with language functioning.

 

"Older adults sometimes worry that tip-of-the-tongue states indicate serious memory problems but this is a misconception: tip-of-the-tongue states are not associated with memory loss," she added. "In fact, older adults usually have a much larger vocabulary than young adults. Instead, tip-of-the-tongue states occur when the meaning of a word is available in our memory, but the sound form of the word can temporarily not be accessed."

 

"Accessing the sound forms of words is essential for successful and fluent language production, and its disruption has very noticeable negative consequences for older adults."

 

She said she hoped the study would add gravitas to the public health message that regular exercise is important to ensure healthy ageing.

 

She added: "There are a lot of findings already on the benefits of aerobic fitness and regular exercise, and our research demonstrates another side of the benefits, namely a relationship between fitness and language skills. We were able to show, for the first time, that the benefits of aerobic fitness extend to the domain of language."

 

"Maintaining good language skills is extremely important for older adults. Older adults frequently have word finding difficulties and they experience these as particularly irritating and embarrassing."

 

"Speaking is a skill we all rely on every day. Communication with others helps us maintain social relationships and independence into old age."

 

In future research, the University of Birmingham plans to undertake exercise intervention studies to determine whether regular exercise can successfully increase language abilities.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180430075622.htm

Aerobic Fitness, Hormones Predict Recognition Memory in Young Adults

Dec. 2, 2013

Science Daily/Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM)

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found further evidence that exercise may be beneficial for brain health and cognition. The findings, which are currently available online in Behavioural Brain Research, suggest that certain hormones, which are increased during exercise, may help improve memory.

 

Hormones called growth factors are thought to mediate the relationship between exercise and brain health. The hippocampus, a region of the brain crucial for learning and memory, is thought to be uniquely affected by these hormones.

 

The growth factors brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), have been implicated in the link between exercise and hippocampal function. BDNF, for example, acts on the nervous system to help regulate communication between existing brain cells (neurons) and stimulate the growth and maturation of new hippocampal neurons and blood vessels.

 

In this study, the researchers recruited healthy young adults, in whom they measured blood hormone levels together with performance on a recognition memory task and aerobic fitness. The researchers were thus able to correlate the blood hormone levels with aerobic fitness, and subsequently whether there was any effect on memory function.

 

According to the researchers, BDNF and aerobic fitness predicted memory in an interactive manner, suggesting that at low fitness BDNF levels negatively predicted expected memory accuracy. Conversely, at high fitness resting BDNF levels positively predicted recognition memory. There also was a strong association between IGF-1 and aerobic fitness; however there was no complementary link between IGF-1 and memory function.

 

"We will be continuing this line of research by testing if memory improves following an exercise training program in both young and geriatric adults, and by adding brain imaging techniques," explained Karin Schon, PhD, assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology at BUSM, who served as the study's principal investigator.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202162204.htm

Inactive People Can Achieve Health and Fitness Gains in a Fraction of the Time

Feb. 1, 2013

Science Daily/Wiley

With many of us struggling to get enough exercise, sport and exercise scientists at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and the University of Birmingham, under the lead of Professor Anton Wagenmakers, have been working on a time-saving solution.

Instead of long stints in the gym and miles of running in the cold, the same results could be achieved in less than a third of the time, according to new research published February 1 in The Journal of Physiology.

The current recommendation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UK Department of Health is that people of all ages should do three to five hours of endurance training per week to increase health and fitness and prevent chronic diseases and premature mortality. However, most people find it difficult to set aside this much time in their busy lives.

This study has taken existing research to a new level to prove that replacing endurance training with two types of interval training, High intensity Interval Training (HIT) and Sprint Interval Training (SIT), can make a massive difference to our health and aerobic fitness. In two articles in the 1 February issue of The Journal of Physiology, the researchers describe their recent discoveries that three sessions of SIT, taking just 90 min per week, are as effective as five sessions of traditional endurance exercise, taking five hours per week, in increasing whole body insulin sensitivity via two independent mechanisms.

LJMU researcher Matthew Cocks explains: 'One mechanism involves improved delivery of insulin and glucose to the skeletal muscle and the other involves improved burning of the fat stored in skeletal muscle fibres. Additionally, we found a reduced stiffness of large arteries which is important in reducing the risk of vascular disease.'

On the basis of these novel and earlier findings from other laboratories, Professor Wagenmakers expects that HIT and SIT will turn out to be unique alternative exercise modes suitable to prevent blood vessel disease, hypertension, diabetes and most of the other ageing and obesity related chronic diseases.

LJMU researcher Sam Shepherd describes: 'SIT involves four to six repeated 30 second 'all out' sprints on special laboratory bikes interspersed with 4.5 minutes of very low intensity cycling. Due to the very high workload of the sprints, this method is more suitable for young and healthy individuals. However, anyone of any age or level of fitness can follow one of the alternative HIT programmes which involve 15-60 second bursts of high intensity cycling interspersed with 2-4 minute intervals of low intensity cycling. HIT can be delivered on simple spinning bikes that are present in commercial gyms and are affordable for use at home or in the workplace.'

Lack of time is the number one reason that the majority of the adult population do not meet the current physical activity recommendations. SIT and HIT could solve this problem.

Sam Shepherd comments: 'A pilot study currently ongoing in the Sports Centre at the University of Birmingham has also shown that previously sedentary individuals in the age-range of 25-60 also find HIT on spinning bikes much more enjoyable and attractive than endurance training and it has a more positive effect on mood and feelings of well-being. This could imply that HIT is more suitable to achieve sustainable changes in exercise behaviour.'

HIT, therefore, seems to provide the ideal alternative to outdoor running, dangerous cycling trips and long boring endurance cycling sessions in health and fitness gyms. That is why the researchers believe that there will be a great future for HIT for obese and elderly individuals and potentially also for patients with hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130201090405.htm

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