Aerobic exercise training and improved neuropsychological function of older individuals

Neurobiol Aging. Spring 1984;5(1):35-42. doi: 10.1016/0197-4580(84)90083-6.


The effects of a four month aerobic exercise conditioning program on neuropsychological test performance, depression indices, sensory thresholds, and visual acuity of 55-70 year old sedentary individuals were evaluated. Aerobically trained subjects were compared with two age-matched control groups of subjects: those who trained with strength and flexibility exercises and others who were not engaged in a supervised exercise program. The aerobically trained subjects demonstrated significantly greater improvement on the neuropsychological test battery than did either control group. Depression scores, sensory thresholds, and visual acuity were not changed by aerobic exercise. The pattern of results suggests that the effect of aerobic exercise training was on central rather than on peripheral function. We speculate that aerobic exercise promoted increased cerebral metabolic activity with a resultant improvement in neuropsychological test scores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged / psychology*
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Psychological Tests*
  • Reaction Time
  • Sensory Thresholds


  • Oxygen