While there is evidence that age-related changes in cognitive performance and brain structure can be offset by increased exercise, little is known about the impact long-term high-effort endurance exercise has on these functions. In a cross-sectional design with 12-month follow-up, we recruited older adults engaging in high-effort endurance exercise over at least 20 years, and compared their cognitive performance and brain structure with a nonsedentary control group similar in age, sex, education, IQ, and lifestyle factors. Our findings showed no differences on measures of speed of processing, executive function, incidental memory, episodic memory, working memory, or visual search for older adults participating in long-term high-effort endurance exercise, when compared without confounds to nonsedentary peers. On tasks that engaged significant attentional control, subtle differences emerged. On indices of brain structure, long-term exercisers displayed higher white matter axial diffusivity than their age-matched peers, but this did not correlate with indices of cognitive performance.
Jeremy C. Young, Nicholas G. Dowell, Peter W. Watt, Naji Tabet and Jennifer M. Rusted
J.C. Norling, Jim Sibthorp and Edward Ruddell
The purpose of this study was to develop the Perceived Restorativeness for Activities Scale (PRAS) based on the conceptual framework of attention-restoration theory (ART). ART suggests that 4 latent constructs (being away, fascination, extent, and compatibility) must be present to enable a switch from voluntary (effortful, directed) attention to involuntary (effortless) attention and facilitate restored attention.
Data were collected from 238 participants in a variety of university exercise classes. Exploratory factor analysis reduced items to a parsimonious 12-item scale. Confirmatory factor analysis tested the best fit between a 1-dimensional versus a 4-factor solution.
The Cronbach alpha was .925. The significant analysis (P < .001) suggested that the model with 4 distinct subscales has the best data fit (goodness-of-fit index = .94, standardized root-mean-square residual = .041, incremental-fit index = .98, expected-cross-validation index = .66, comparative-fit index = .98). Composite reliability and variance extracted were calculated for each construct represented by ART: being away, .81, .59; fascination, .79, .63; extent, .89, .78; and compatibility, .68, .42.
The 12-item, 4-factor solution of the PRAS can help researchers understand the within-individual preconceptions toward the activity experience that can influence cognitive restoration.
Kelly Birch, Merritt ten Hope, Michael Malek-Ahmadi, Kathy O’Connor, Sharon Schofield, David Coon and Walter Nieri
Previous research has found that increased physical activity may provide a protective effect on depression status; however, these studies do not account for cognitive function. This study’s aim was to determine whether cognitive function mediates the association between physical activity depression status in older adults. Data from 501 older adults were used for this analysis. Physical activity had a significant protective effect on depression (OR = 0.761, 95% CI [0.65, 0.89], p = .001). Adjusted analysis yielded an attenuated association (OR = 0.81, 95% CI [0.69, 0.95], p = .01) with a significant interaction for physical activity and cognitive function (OR = 0.991, 95% CI [0.985, 0.997], p = .005). MoCA performance also had a significant mediating effect on the relationship between physical activity and depression status (p = .04). These findings suggest that cognitive function is associated with, and does mediate, the relationship between physical activity and depression status.
José M. Cancela, M Helena Vila Suárez,, Jamine Vasconcelos, Ana Lima and Carlos Ayán
This study evaluates the impact of Brain Gym (BG) training in active older adults. Eighty-five participants were assigned to four training groups: BG (n = 18), BG plus water-based exercise (n = 18), land-based exercise (n = 30), and land plus water-based exercise (n = 19). The effects of the programs on the attention and memory functions were assessed by means of the symbol digit modality test. The two-min step and the eight-foot up-and-go tests were used to evaluate their impact on fitness level. No program had a significant influence on the participant’s cognitive performance, while different effects on the sample’ fitness levels were observed. These findings suggest that the effects of BG on the cognitive performance and fitness level of active older adults are similar to those obtained after the practice of a traditional exercise program. Whether BG is performed in isolation or combined with other exercise programs seems to have no influence on such effects.
Fabien D. Legrand, William M. Bertucci and Joanne Hudson
A crossover experiment was performed to determine whether age and sex, or their interaction, affect the impact of acute aerobic exercise on vigor-activity (VA). We also tested whether changes in VA mediated exercise effects on performance on various cognitive tasks. Sixty-eight physically inactive volunteers participated in exercise and TV-watching control conditions. They completed the VA subscale of the Profile of Mood States immediately before and 2 min after the intervention in each condition. They also performed the Trail Making Test 3 min after the intervention in each condition. Statistical analyses produced a condition × age × sex interaction characterized by a higher mean VA gain value in the exercise condition (compared with the VA gain value in the TV-watching condition) for young female participants only. In addition, the mediational analyses revealed that changes in VA fully mediated the effects of exercise on TMT-Part A performance.
Jennifer L. Etnier
In developing a senior lecture for the 2014 national meeting of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity, I had the opportunity to reflect upon a career of research and to focus on three interesting questions that my colleagues and I have attempted to address. These questions have led to several studies that all revolve around identifying ways to increase the effects of exercise on cognitive performance. In particular, the questions examine the possibility of increasing effects by focusing on particular populations (e.g., older adults, children) and by increasing our understanding of dose-response relationships between exercise parameters (e.g., intensity, duration) and cognitive outcomes. I present empirical evidence relative to each of these questions and provide directions for future research on physical activity and cognitive functioning.
Sarah Kelly, Len Coote, T. Bettina Cornwell and Anna McAlister
This research provides insight into the complex relationship between consumer response to persuasion attempts and skepticism, suggesting that erstwhile targets may be swayed by campaigns pitched as a form of entertainment. The authors examine consumer responses to an important sponsorship-leveraging tool: sponsorship-linked advertising (SLA). A theoretical model of consumer response to SLA is proposed, drawing on important resistance mechanisms to persuasion, including ad skepticism, attributed advertiser motives, and the nature of thoughts. Results confirm existing research on consumer skepticism suggesting its transitory nature and hence potential for advertisers to strategically temper it through specific cues in ad execution. Differential processing between SLA and traditional advertising is supported, such that SLA elicits more favorable cognitive response.
Laura Chaddock, Michelle W. Voss and Arthur F. Kramer
Our increasingly inactive lifestyle is detrimental to physical and cognitive health. This review focuses on the beneficial relation of physical activity and aerobic fitness to the brain and cognitive health in a youth and elderly population to highlight the need to change this pattern. In children, increased physical activity and higher levels of aerobic fitness have been associated with superior academic achievement and cognitive processes. Differences in brain volumes and brain function of higher-fit and lower-fit peers are potential mechanisms underlying the performance differences in cognitive challenges. We hope that this research will encourage modifications in educational policies that will increase physical activity during the school day. In addition, older adults who participate in physical activity show higher performance on a variety of cognitive tasks, coupled with less risk of cognitive impairment. The cognitive enhancements are in part driven by less age-related brain tissue loss and increases in the efficiency of brain function. Given the increasing aging population and threat of dementia, research about the plasticity of the elderly active brain has important public health implications. Collectively, the data support that participation in physical activity could enhance daily functioning, learning, achievement, and brain health in children and the elderly.
Jennifer L. Etnier, Jeffrey D. Labban, William B. Karper, Laurie Wideman, Aaron T. Piepmeier, Chia-Hao Shih, Michael Castellano, Lauren M. Williams, Se-Yun Park, Vincent C. Henrich, William N. Dudley and Kelli L. Rulison
Physical activity is predictive of better cognitive performance and lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) is a susceptibility gene for AD with the e4 allele being associated with a greater risk of AD. Cross-sectional and prospective research shows that physical activity is predictive of better cognitive performance for those at greater genetic risk for AD. However, the moderating role of APOE on the effects of a physical activity intervention on cognitive performance has not been examined. The purpose of this manuscript is to justify the need for such research and to describe the design, methods, and recruitment tactics used in the conductance of a study designed to provide insight as to the extent to which cognitive benefits resulting from an 8-month physical activity program are differentiated by APOE e4 status. The effectiveness of the recruitment strategies and the feasibility of recruiting APOE e4 carriers are discussed.
Anna E. Mathews, Sarah B. Laditka, James N. Laditka, Sara Wilcox, Sara J. Corwin, Rui Liu, Daniela B. Friedman, Rebecca Hunter, Winston Tseng and Rebecca G. Logsdon
This study identified perceived physical activity (PA) enablers and barriers among a racially/ethnically and geographically diverse group of older adults. Data were from 42 focus groups conducted with African Americans, American Indians, Latinos, Chinese, Vietnamese, and non-Hispanic Whites (hereafter Whites). Constant-comparison methods were used to analyze the data. Common barriers were health problems, fear of falling, and inconvenience. Common enablers were positive outcome expectations, social support, and PA program access. American Indians mentioned the built environment and lack of knowledge about PA as barriers and health benefits as an enabler more than participants in other groups. Whites and American Indians emphasized the importance of PA programs specifically designed for older adults. Findings suggest several ways to promote PA among older people, including developing exercise programs designed for older adults and health messages promoting existing places and programs older adults can use to engage in PA.