Aerobic exercise training improves cognition—acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses—even in young and middle-aged adults, according to a study.The study, published in the journal Neurology, involved 132 adults between the ages of 20 and 67.

It found aerobic exercise training increases executive function— cognitive processes important for reasoning, planning, and problem-solving—in adults as young as 20, although the effect was stronger with increasing age.The study led by researchers at Columbia University in the US indicates that aerobic exercise training improves cognition in younger adults, suggesting that exercise can prevent or slow the appearance of at least some age-related cognitive changes.

The flexibility of the exercise protocol in which participants choose when and how to exercise could make the intervention more attractive to the general population and increase its chances for adoption.

Researchers assigned 132 individuals with below median aerobic capacity to an aerobic exercise training programme or to a control programme of stretching and core-strengthening exercises.

All participants worked out four times a week, and those in the exercise group could choose any form of aerobic exercise as long as they reached target heart rates.

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