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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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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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José M. Cancela, Karina Pereira, Irimia Mollinedo, Manuela Ferreira, and Pedro Bezerra

Introduction: Research on variables that encourage older adults to exercise is limited. This study was carried out to identify the participation motives of older Europeans involved in regular exercise. Methods: The 418 (170 men, 248 women) who participated in the survey are participants of the Erasmus Plus European Project In Common Sports. The participants were divided into two groups. Italy, Portugal, and Spain formed the Southern Europe group, and Bulgaria and Hungary the Eastern European group. All participants completed the Participation Motivation Questionnaire: Older Adults. Results: The most highly reported motives for participation were to have fun, stay in shape, keep healthy, and an enjoyment of exercise. Principal-components analysis of the questionnaire revealed six factors: social, fitness, recognition, challenge/benefits, medical, and involvement. Conclusions: The reasons why the residents of Southern European practice exercise are more related to medical reasons, while for Eastern Europe these reasons are more related to recognition.

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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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Miguel A. Sanchez-Lastra, Antonio J. Molina, Vicente Martin, Tania Fernández-Villa, Jose M. Cancela, and Carlos Ayan

This study aimed to determine if stretching exercise can be implemented as an adequate control therapy in exercise randomized controlled trials aimed at improving physical fitness and physical function in older adults. Five electronic databases were systematically searched for randomized controlled trials focused in the physical fitness and function of older adults using stretching exercise as control group. The methodological quality was assessed and a meta-analysis was carried out. Sixteen studies were included, 13 in the meta-analysis. The methodological quality ranged from fair to good. The meta-analysis only in the controls resulted in significant improvements in different functional parameters related to walking, balance, knee flexion strength, or global physical function. The interventions, compared with the controls, significantly improved balance and knee strength parameters. Stretching exercise as control therapy in older people can lead to beneficial effects and could influence the interpretation of the effect size in the intervention groups.