Higher Aerobic Fitness such as walking, running, cycling, are known to confer various health benefits, for the first time researchers have shown that aerobic fitness may also be linked with increased linguistic skills in the elderly. 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.
The team analyzed a small group of healthy adults, with the average age of 70 and 67, on a “tip-of-the-tongue” language test, memory test and fitness test (cycling).
While some elderly worry that tip-of-the-tongue condition indicates serious memory problems, the results showed it is “a misconception”.
“The tip-of-the-tongue states are not associated with memory loss…instead, it occurs when the meaning of a word is available in our memory, but the sound form of the word can temporarily not be accessed,” Segaert said.
She hoped that the findings would add gravitas to the public health message that regular exercise is important to ensure healthy aging.
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