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Research suggests that there are differences in response time (RespT) as a function of age but that aerobic fitness might have a facilitatory effect on RespT. This study was designed to examine this relationship while addressing methodological issues from past research. Men from 3 age groups completed speeded tasks, a physical activity questionnaire, and an aerobic-fitness test. Results indicated that age has a negative impact on RespT (specifically premotor time and movement time). The interaction of aerobic fitness by age was also a significant predictor of RespT (specifically movement time) such that aerobic fitness was positively related to speed of performance for older participants. It is concluded that aerobic fitness might serve a preservative function for speeded tasks in older adults.
At the time of the study, the authors all were with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0701. Kao is now with the Dept. of Human Performance, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA 95192-0054.