Sharper Memory Calls for a Healthier Body in Older Adults


There’s a slim to no chance that when you think of older adults, you think of how well they can remember things. A stereotype has developed against seniors for their loss of hearing, their minimal mobility, and their lack of memory. However, a new study conducted by researchers at Boston University Medical Center (BUMC) suggests that a cognitive performance from seniors calls for cardiorespiratory health. Partakers in the study were asked to complete exercise testing to evaluate cardiorespiratory fitness and neuropsychological testing, with face-name memory training and visual episodic memory, to measure capability, memory, and planning.

The Heart

Your heart is a hard worker. As the epicenter for blood flow, the heart acts as a pump, providing blood full of oxygen and nutrients to other organs and muscles. As the heart pumps an average 5 to 6 quarts of blood a minute, blood takes away the waste materials that are not needed from the organs. As mentioned, the heart carries the blood to other organs, including the lungs.

The Lungs

The lungs are the heart’s coworker, working together in the distribution of oxygen and nutrients to the body. As you take a breath an average of 15 to 25 times a minute, the lungs inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, a gas that your body does not need. The lungs send oxygen to the heart, which supplies that oxygen to the brain and other organs and muscles.

Cardiorespiratory Fitness Explained

Cardiorespiratory fitness is a term used to coin the ability to stream oxygen to the body during continuous physical activity. Also known as aerobic fitness, this exercise is important to maintain a balance in concentration and memory in older adults.

Factors that Contribute to Heart Health

At leisure, a normal heart beats anywhere from 50 to 99 times a minute. If a heart is affected for a prolonged period of time by things such as chemical irritants or fatty substances, it can cause damage to both the heart and cognitive response.

Chemical irritants such as smoking, greasy foods, and excessive amounts of alcohol can all affect heart conditions. Other factors include avoiding fruits and vegetables, quitting prescribed medications, and the digestion of foods rich in sodium.

While chemical toxins are a main factor in heart health, they aren’t the only things in the way of maintaining a clean pump. Anxiety, energy drinks, and sitting for long periods of time can affect your heart as well.



Factors That Contribute to Lung Health

You are what you breathe… Well, that’s not how the saying goes, but it is true. Breathing in toxic chemicals can be damaging to your lungs. As with your heart, the intake from smoking, which is the major cause of lung cancer, negatively affects your lungs. Other damaging factors include pollutants, asthma, and greasy foods.

Lungs have one of the most important jobs in the body. The distribution of oxygen to the parts of the body is critical. Without this transportation of oxygen, your body may be harmed in the regions of the brain, heart, and lungs. Your cells will die too as they need oxygen to survive.

Preventative measures to be taken in order to maintain healthy lungs are avoid smoking or secondhand smoking, develop a nutritious and low-fat diet, and exercise. Other measures can be assigned, but these will help improve lung function.

Conclusion in the Study

Assistant professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine, Scott Haynes, who was also the author of the study, revealed that 33 adults between the ages of 18 to 31 and 27 adults ranging from 55 to 82 participated in the study. The team concluded that high-fit older adults performed as well as younger adults in the test of executive function measures. They also concluded that, in episodic memory measures, younger adults performed higher than high-fit older adults, who were better than low-fit older adults. However, younger adults couldn’t seem to establish a connection between cardiorespiratory fitness and cognition.


Reference: This study was published in the Journal of Gerontology..