Greater Semantic Memory Activation After Exercise Training Cessation in Older Endurance-Trained Athletes

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Purpose: To examine the effects of a 10-day exercise-training cessation on semantic memory functional activation in older distance runners. Methods: Ten master runners (62.6 ± 7.0 years) with a long-term endurance-training history (29.0 ± 6.0 years) underwent a 10-day training cessation. Before and immediately after the training cessation, semantic memory activation was measured during the famous name recognition task, using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Results: The 10-day training cessation resulted in greater semantic memory activation in three brain regions, including the left inferior frontal gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, and inferior semilunar lobule. The 10-day training cessation did not significantly alter famous name recognition task performance. Conclusions: The findings demonstrate that even a relatively short period without exercise training alters the functional activation patterns of semantic memory–related neural networks. Increased semantic memory activation after training cessation may indicate reduced neural efficiency during successful memory retrieval.

Won, Weiss, Hagberg, and Smith are with the Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA. Alfini is with the Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA. Weiss and Smith are also with the Program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.

Smith (carson@umd.edu) is corresponding author.
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