Physical Fitness Tied to Better Verbal Skills in Older Adultsby Diane Domina Content Production Editor
Seniors who are physically fit are less likely to struggle to find the words they’re looking for and are better able to express themselves verbally. In fact, a small study from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom suggests that a lack of aerobic fitness is directly tied to age-related “tip-of-the-tongue” language failures and other cognitive lapses.
The researchers compared 28 healthy older adults (20 women, average age 70, and 8 men, average age 67) and 27 young people (19 women, average age 23, and 8 men, average age 22) in a tip-of-the-tongue language test. Study participants were asked to name famous people, based on 20 questions about them, and were asked to identify 20 “easy” and less frequent words, based on their definitions. They also underwent a stationary bicycle test to measure aerobic fitness.
According to the researchers, even seemingly healthy older adults can experience age-related cognitive decline, and aerobic fitness plays an important role – over and above age and vocabulary. Results of the study were published in Scientific Reports.