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Anna Meijer, Marsh Königs, Irene M.J. van der Fels, Chris Visscher, Roel J. Bosker, Esther Hartman, and Jaap Oosterlaan

The authors performed a clustered randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of an aerobic and a cognitively demanding exercise intervention on executive functions in primary-school-age children compared with the regular physical education program (N = 856). They hypothesized that both exercise interventions would facilitate executive functioning, with stronger effects for the cognitively demanding exercise group. The interventions were provided four times per week for 14 weeks. Linear mixed models were conducted on posttest neurocognitive function measures with baseline level as covariate. No differences were found between the exercise interventions and the control group for any of the measures. Independently of group, dose of moderate to vigorous physical activity was positively related to verbal working memory and attention abilities. This study showed that physical exercise interventions did not enhance executive functioning in children. Exposure to moderate to vigorous physical activity is a crucial aspect of the relationship between physical activity and executive functioning.

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Valéria Mayaly Alves de Oliveira, André Luiz Torres Pirauá, Bruno Remígio Cavalcante, Natália Barros Beltrão, Wevans Monthier de Farias, Ana Carolina Rodarti Pitangui, and Rodrigo Cappato de Araújo

The authors investigated the effects of unstable strength training (UST) without or with cognitive training (C+UST) on functional performance in community-dwelling older adults. A total of 50 participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to either 24 weeks of thrice-weekly UST (n = 25) or C+UST (n = 25). All participants performed moderate-intensity strength exercises using unstable surfaces, and C+UST participants simultaneously received cognitive training in addition to UST. Primary outcomes included measures of functional performance: single- and dual-task timed up and go tests. Secondary outcomes included dynamic balance, mobility, handgrip strength, flexibility, quality of life, and concern about falling. The authors observed similar improvements on functional performance through the interventions. The C+UST group experienced additional gains at completion (single-task timed up and go: −0.90 s, 95% confidence interval [–2.38, –0.03]; dual-task timed up and go: –4.80 s, 95% confidence interval [–8.65, –0.95]) compared with the UST group. Moreover, significant differences were observed in mobility (sitting-rising test: −1.34, 95% confidence interval [−2.00, −0.20]) at 24 weeks. Both exercise modes improved single-task functional performance, while adding cognitive-training-optimized dual-task functional performance gains.

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Renée Martin-Willett, Jarrod E. Ellingson, Jill Fries, Timothy Helmuth, Hollis Karoly, Gregory Giordano, Vince D. Calhoun, and Angela D. Bryan

This study utilized a randomized control trial to examine whether structural changes in the precuneus, insula, caudate, hippocampus, and putamen were related to exercise. A total of 197 healthy older adults with no evidence of dementia participated in moderate-intensity interval training or low-intensity continuous training for 16 weeks. Size decreased in the right hippocampus such that the effect of time was significant but the interaction with condition was not. For the left hippocampus, size decreased in the low-intensity continuous training condition but increased in the moderate-intensity continuous training plus interval training condition at the trend level. Finally, there was a significant time-by-condition interaction such that the thickness of the left insula increased for low-intensity continuous training and decreased for moderate-intensity continuous training plus interval training. Few structural changes were associated with the exercise intervention. Future studies should examine the effects of exercise on brain structure in high-risk or clinical populations for a longer period of time.

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Katie Thralls Butte and Susan S. Levy

Objectives: To examine the efficacy of an the intervention Stand Up Now (SUN) to reduce sedentary behavior (SB) and improve physical function and mobility. Methods: SUN included two groups: (a) focused on reducing total SB (SUNSL) and (b) focused on increasing sit-to-stand (STS) transitions (SUNSTS). The participants (N = 71; M age = 87 ± 7 years) had 12 weekly health coaching sessions. SB, physical function, and mobility were measured at the baseline, 6, and 12 weeks via the activPAL, Short Physical Performance Battery, and the 8-foot up and go, respectively. Linear mixed models examined the outcome variables over time. Results: Both groups decreased sedentary time (1.3 ± 0.3 hr, p < .001), increased standing time (0.5 ± 0.2 hr, p < .02), and improved physical function (1.5 ± 0.4 points, p < .001) from the baseline to 6 weeks, and they maintained it at 12 weeks. SUNSTS increased STS transitions (5.4 ± 4.1, p < .001), while SUNSL had no changes (0.5 ± 3.1, p > .9). There were no changes in mobility for either group (0.5 ± 1.5 s, p > .05). Discussion: SUN demonstrates the efficacy to improve SB and physical function in older adults.

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Rachel R. Kleis, Matt C. Hoch, Rachel Hogg-Graham, and Johanna M. Hoch

Background: Despite the known risks of physical inactivity, only 50% of adults meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity (PA). Therefore, numerous interventions have been designed to increase PA across a lifespan. The purpose of this systematic review was to determine the effectiveness of interventions based on the transtheoretical model to improve PA in healthy adults. Methods: Electronic databases (CINAHL, MEDLINE, Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection, PsycINFO, Sociological Collection, and SPORTDiscus) were systematically searched from January 2001 to May 2020. Results: A total of 11 randomized pretest–posttest studies were included in this review. Ten studies utilized a subjective measurement of PA, and 3 studies included an objective measure. Five studies demonstrated significant improvements in PA for the transtheoretical model-based intervention groups compared with control/comparison groups; however, 6 studies demonstrated no differences between groups. Conclusion: The findings suggest that there is inconsistent evidence to support the use of interventions based on the transtheoretical model to improve PA in adult populations. Interventions were more successful when materials were delivered via in-person counseling and when study participants were in the precontemplation or contemplation phases at baseline.

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Spencer E. Boyle, Melissa A. Fothergill, John Metcalfe, Sarah Docherty, and Crystal F. Haskell-Ramsay

Background: Physical activity provides a number of physical and psychological benefits. Multimodal proprioceptive exercise represents a useful balance-based exercise with the potential to reduce falls in older adults. Previous research has also indicated cognitive benefits following multimodal proprioceptive exercise in young and older adults. This study aimed to assess cognition and mood following 2 types of physical activity (multimodal proprioception vs yoga) compared with control (classroom-based) in healthy older adults. Method: Nineteen older adults (Mage = 65, sex = 9 males) participated in this randomized controlled crossover trial. Participants completed a 20-minute multimodal proprioceptive exercise class, 20-minute yoga session, and 20-minute classroom-based control. Numeric working memory and mood were assessed before and immediately following each of the interventions. Results: The multimodal proprioceptive intervention significantly reduced numeric working memory reaction time versus the yoga (P = .043) and control (P = .023) group. There were no differences found for accuracy or mood. Conclusions: These results indicate that multimodal proprioceptive exercise is worthy of further investigation as an alternative mode of exercise alongside the more traditional aerobic and strength-based exercise for healthy older adults.