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Physical Activity and Cognitive Functioning

  • By: Amanda N. Szabo & Edward McAuley
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

There are currently about 35 million adults aged 65 years and older in the United States, a figure that is expected to double in the next several decades. Additionally, as a result of biomedical advances and preventive health behaviors, adults who reach 65 are projected to live longer than ever before. Having a “sound mind” or being in possession of all of one's cognitive faculties is important for productive aging. However, it appears that some cognitive decline is inevitable as we age, and even the healthiest older adults experience memory problems and reductions in mental processing speed and flexibility. In particular, a subset of cognitive functions that reflect executive control (e.g., planning, scheduling, and decision making) are particularly susceptible to the aging process. Thus, ...

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