Authors for PsychonomicBulletin & Review researched which components of executive functioning areimproved by aerobic exercise in child, young adult, and older adults ofnonclinical populations. Specific focus was placed on executive performance intests involving task switching, selective attention and inhibitory control, andworking memory. Extensive analysis led the authors to conclude most decisively thataerobic exercise has positive effects in executive functions of older adults,combating natural neurological decline associated with aging. An emphasis isplaced on the increased benefits of aerobic exercise in comparison to strengthand fitness training. Conclusions about exercise effects on young adults andchildren were less conclusive due to a lack of research on these populations,but there was still strong evidence that exercise decreases reaction times andincreases accuracy rates in young adults, perhaps by improving executive controlprocesses.
Some studies support improved accuracy rates and cognitive controlin children, but more studies must be conducted to account for the ongoingdevelopment of children’s executive functions and cognitive abilities. It isalso states that further research is necessary to establish the contribution ofexercise and fitness to overall executive functioning and to identify itsinteraction with specific cognitive mechanisms.