Authors for Psychonomic
Bulletin & Review researched which components of executive functioning are
improved by aerobic exercise in child, young adult, and older adults of
nonclinical populations. Specific focus was placed on executive performance in
tests involving task switching, selective attention and inhibitory control, and
working memory. Extensive analysis led the authors to conclude most decisively that
aerobic exercise has positive effects in executive functions of older adults,
combating natural neurological decline associated with aging. An emphasis is
placed on the increased benefits of aerobic exercise in comparison to strength
and fitness training. Conclusions about exercise effects on young adults and
children were less conclusive due to a lack of research on these populations,
but there was still strong evidence that exercise decreases reaction times and
increases accuracy rates in young adults, perhaps by improving executive control
processes. Some studies support improved accuracy rates and cognitive control
in children, but more studies must be conducted to account for the ongoing
development of children’s executive functions and cognitive abilities. It is
also states that further research is necessary to establish the contribution of
exercise and fitness to overall executive functioning and to identify its
interaction with specific cognitive mechanisms. 


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