Gender Differences in Fitness and Brain Function

Is aerobic exercise better for older men's brains?

By Shirley Archer, JD, MA
May 21, 2019

Many studies show that cardiorespiratory fitness improvements boost brain fitness in later life. New research in the Journal of Applied Physiology (2019; doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01046.2018) reveals that effects may differ between men and women.

Researchers at York University, Toronto, and McGill University, Montreal, studied healthy older women and men to look for possible gender-based distinctions in the relationship between cardiovascular fitness and better brain network integrity. Study authors observed a stronger association in older men than in women.


Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at

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