Single Versus Combined Cognitive and Physical Activity Effects on Fluid Cognitive Abilities of Healthy Older Adults: A 4-Month Randomized Controlled Trial With Follow-Up

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Background:

Physical and cognitive activity seems to be an effective strategy by which to promote age-sensitive fluid cognitive abilities in older adults.

Method:

In this randomized controlled trial, 70 healthy senior citizens (age 60–75) were allocated to a physical, cognitive, combined physical plus cognitive, and waiting control group. The trial assessed information processing speed, short-term memory, spatial relations, concentration, reasoning, and cognitive speed.

Results:

In contrast to the control group, the physical, cognitive, and combined training groups enhanced their concentration immediately after intervention. Only the physical training group showed improved concentration 3 months later. The combined training group displayed improved cognitive speed both immediately and three months after intervention. The cognitive training group displayed improved cognitive speed 3 months after intervention.

Conclusions:

Physical, cognitive, and combined physical plus cognitive activity can be seen as cognition-enrichment behaviors in healthy older adults that show different rather than equal intervention effects.

The authors are with the Dept. of Sport and Exercise Psychology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Dorothee Alfermann. E-mail: alfermann@uni-leipzig.de

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