It would be easy to assume that only those who have been lifelong exercisers reap the benefits of exercise. While it may be true that lifelong exercisers are healthier, several studies have demonstrated the benefits of initiation of exercise later in life as well. The suggestion is therefore, that it might never be too late to benefit from aerobic exercise. However, the advantages of exercise are apparent throughout the lifespan. Even in children, studies have shown that aerobic fitness is associated with both better cognitive performance and academic achievement. In children, aerobic fitness is also associated with greater brain volume in the hippocampus, a structure heavily implicated in memory. Aerobically fit children tend to have better brain function, cognitive performance and brain structure. These trends continue into later life where aerobic activity is associated with better executive function; multi-tasking, planning, inhibition and enhanced frontal cortex regulation. Increased brain volume, therefore is associated with both aerobic activity and better cognitive performance.
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