‘Senior moments’ of forgetfulness might be caused by a lack of fitness, a study suggests.
Researchers who studied healthy older people found the fitter they were, the less likely they were to struggle to recall words that were on the tip of their tongue.
The study suggests improving physical fitness should result in better mental health as well.
The research, published in Scientific Reports, looked at the relation between aerobic fitness – how good the heart is at pumping oxygen around the body – and memory.
The study compared 28 adults – average age 70 for women and 67 for men – with 27 men and women aged on average in their early twenties. They were asked to name famous people based on 20 questions about them.
They were also given 40 definitions and asked to give the word being defined. An exercise bike test assessed their aerobic fitness.
‘In our study, the higher the older adults’ aerobic fitness level, the lower the probability of experiencing a tip-of-the-tongue state.’