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Katja Linde and Dorothee Alfermann

Background:

Physical and cognitive activity seems to be an effective strategy by which to promote age-sensitive fluid cognitive abilities in older adults.

Method:

In this randomized controlled trial, 70 healthy senior citizens (age 60–75) were allocated to a physical, cognitive, combined physical plus cognitive, and waiting control group. The trial assessed information processing speed, short-term memory, spatial relations, concentration, reasoning, and cognitive speed.

Results:

In contrast to the control group, the physical, cognitive, and combined training groups enhanced their concentration immediately after intervention. Only the physical training group showed improved concentration 3 months later. The combined training group displayed improved cognitive speed both immediately and three months after intervention. The cognitive training group displayed improved cognitive speed 3 months after intervention.

Conclusions:

Physical, cognitive, and combined physical plus cognitive activity can be seen as cognition-enrichment behaviors in healthy older adults that show different rather than equal intervention effects.