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Carlos Ayan, Jose Cancela Carral and Carlos Montero


The relationship between physical activity (PA) and academic performance has been previously studied. However, there is a need to determine if the intensity of the PA performed and its predominant metabolic pathway show any degree of association with the academic achievement.


Cross-sectional data were gathered from Spanish young competitive swimmers. Academic achievement was based on individual grades for each student; the PA level was measured by means of the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adolescents. Swimmers were classified according to the preferential energetic cost of the event in which they competed.


A total of 254 swimmers finished the study; 62.8% of them were considered moderate active. The statistical analysis showed that the higher the level of PA performed, the better the average grades achieved. This relationship was significant among the girls (P = .04). No significant differences were found regarding the influence of the kind of swimming event. However, taking part in aerobic events proved to have a significant influence on the academic achievement for girls (P = .01).


The link between academic achievement and PA depends on the intensity in which the PA is performed, as well as on its predominant metabolic pathway. However, such associations seem to be gender-dependent.

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Silvia Varela, José M. Cancela, Manuel Seijo-Martinez and Carlos Ayán

This study aimed at identifying the effects of self-paced cycling on the cognitive and functional status and fall risk on institutionalized older adults without cognitive impairment. A total of 39 individuals were randomly assigned to an exercise group or to a control group. The exercise group participants cycled at their self-selected intensity at least for 15 min daily during 15 months. The control group participants performed recreational activities. The Mini-Mental State Examination, Fuld object memory evaluation, and symbol digit modality test were used for cognitive assessments. The Katz index, the timed “Up & Go” test, and the World Health Organization questionnaire were used to assess functional independence, mobility, and fall risk. Significant improvements were observed in the exercise group for global cognition and attention, visual scanning, and processing speed. Long-term self-paced cycling training seems to have a protective effect on cognitive status and attention, visual scanning, and processing speed in older institutionalized individuals.

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Carlos Ayán, Paulo Carvalho, Silvia Varela and José María Cancela

Background: Research regarding the impact of aquatic exercise on cognition is scarce. This study aimed at identifying the effects of water-based exercise training on the cognitive function and quality of life of healthy adult women. Methods: Fifty-one healthy women [mean age: 46.5 (12.3) y] were assigned to group A or B and followed a water-based exercise program for 6 months. During the first 3 months, the sessions performed by group A were focused on stimulating cognitive function. For the next 3 months, the sessions were mainly aimed at improving physical fitness. Participants in group B followed the same program in reverse order. The trail making and symbol digit modality tests were used to assess the impact of the program on cognition. The effects of the intervention on the participants’ physical and mental health were measured by means of the medical outcomes study 36-item short-form health survey. Results: Once the intervention ended, significant improvements were observed in the participants’ cognitive function and mental health domain, regardless of the group in which they were initially included. Conclusion: Water-based exercise is a training modality capable of enhancing cognitive function and quality of life through improvements in mental health in healthy adult women.

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Miguel A. Sanchez-Lastra, Vicente de Dios Álvarez and Carlos Ayán Pérez

Background: The promotion of physical activity among imprisoned people is a public health strategy that could help to improve the health status of this collective. This systematic review is aimed at reviewing the scientific evidence regarding the effects of exercise training programs performed by inmates. Methods: A systematic search for randomized controlled trials aimed at identifying the characteristics and effects of prison-based exercise training programs on imprisoned people was carried through MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, and Scopus. Results: A total of 11 randomized controlled studies were selected, and the methodological quality of these was acceptable according to the Downs and Black scale. The proposed interventions were mainly based on the performance of aerobic or combined exercise training programs. Generally, the participants were healthy men who were imprisoned for at least 2 months and up to 15 years. Ten out of the 11 studies reported significant changes on physical and mental health–related variables, after the intervention took place. Conclusion: These findings suggest that prison-based exercise programs constitute a feasible and useful strategy for improving the physical and mental health status of prisoners.

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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.

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Renata V. Pedroso, Carlos Ayán, Francisco J. Fraga, Thays M.V. da Silva, José M. Cancela and Ruth F. Santos-Galduròz

The aim of this study was to verify the effects of functional-task training on cognitive function, activities of daily living (ADL) performance, and functional fitness in community-dwelling older adults with diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A total of 57 participants (22 functional-task training group [FTG], 21 social gathering group [SGG], 14 control group [CG]) were recruited. Participants in both intervention groups carried out three 1-hr sessions per week of a functional-task program and social gathering activities for 12 weeks. Significant improvements were observed in executive functions (TMT, t-test, p = .03) in the SGG and in upper limb strength (arm curl, t-test, p = .01) in the FTG. Functional-task training has no significant effect on cognitive function, ADL, and functional fitness among people with AD, although it may contribute to slowing down the process of deterioration this illness causes.

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Renata Valle Pedroso, José Maria Cancela, Carlos Ayán, Angelica Miki Stein, Gilson Fuzaro, José Luiz Riani Costa, Francisco J. Fraga and Ruth Ferreira Santos-Galduróz

Background: Evidence regarding the benefits of physical activity on the mental processing information of patients with Alzheimer’s disease assessed objectively is scarce and can be observed through event-related potentials, such as the P300. The aim of the study was to identify the effects of physical exercises on mental processing information in the elderly with Alzheimer’s disease through neurophysiological measures (P300 amplitude and latency) and reaction time. Methods: A total of 31 patients with Alzheimer’s disease participated in this study: 14 in functional exercise (FE) group and 17 in social gathering (SG) group who carried out three 1-hour sessions per week of FE and SG activities, respectively, for a 12-week period. All groups performed an auditory oddball task. A healthy elderly control group also participated. Results: Significant (P < .05) improvements were observed as a reduction of reaction time after intervention in the FE group (pre = 421.5 ms and post = 360.9 ms). Also, an increase of P300 amplitude at central midline (pre = 5.9 μV and post = 6.9 μV) and parietal midline (pre = 4.7 μV and post = 5.7 μV) was observed in the FE. Finally, a decrease in the P300 latency at frontal midline (pre = 377 ms and post = 367 ms) was observed in the SG after the intervention. Conclusion: Physical exercise decreases reaction time and suggests a recovery in cortical activity, whereas SG activities could probably facilitate information processing.