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SeYun Park and Jennifer L. Etnier

Background: Evidence supports that a single session of exercise has benefits for cognitive performance following exercise. Although the vast majority of research has been conducted with young adults, very few studies to date have tested these effects in adolescents (high school aged students). As executive function (EF) develops through late adolescence and into young adulthood, it is important to assess the extent to which acute exercise benefits EF in adolescents. The primary purpose of this study was to assess the effect of moderate-intensity acute exercise on subsequent EF performance in this population. Methods: Healthy high school students (N = 22; age: 15.90 [0.29] y) volunteered to participate in the study. Using a within-subjects design with order of conditions randomized and counterbalanced, participants performed the Stroop Test, the Symbol Digit Modalities Test, and the Tower of London Test following control and following exercise with sessions performed on different days. Results: Exercise resulted in significant benefits for Stroop Color, Stroop Color-Word tests, Symbol Digit Modalities Test, Tower of London total moves, and Tower of London total excess moves. Conclusions: These results provide an important extension to the literature by confirming that 20 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise benefits EF performance in high school students.

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Jennifer L. Etnier, William B. Karper, Se-Yun Park, Chia-Hao Shih, Aaron T. Piepmeier and Laurie Wideman

As a population, middle-aged and older adults are not meeting national guidelines for exercise. The purpose of this study was to describe factors associated with exercise adherence in an 8-month program offered as part of a research study testing the effects of exercise on cognitive performance for persons with a family history of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). After completion of the program, participants provided open-ended responses indicating their reasons for adhering to the exercise program, and they completed the Motives for Physical Activities Measure-Revised. Results indicated that adherence was tied to an interest in contributing to our understanding of AD, the opportunity to join an exercise program, perceived exercise benefits, and social support. In addition, participants reported high levels of extrinsic (fitness-related) and intrinsic (interest/enjoyment) motivation. Other possible motivating factors which emerged from day-to-day observations in the program were identified. Findings suggest directions for exercise professionals with respect to exercise adherence.

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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.