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Spyridoula Vazou and Ann Smiley-Oyen

Classroom-based physical activity is a new approach aiming to improve both physical activity levels and academic achievement. This study investigated the acute effect of a 10-min bout of aerobic physical activity integrated with math practice, compared with a seated math practice, on executive function and enjoyment among normal-weight (n = 24) and overweight children (n = 11). Thirty-five typically developing prepubescent children (10.55 ± 0.74 years) completed a session of physical activity integrated with math practice and a seated math practice session in counterbalanced order. Results showed that following integrated physical activity, the response time in the Standard Flanker improved more than after seated practice. Among the overweight children, physical activity benefitted performance in the Standard Flanker by preventing the decline associated with seated practice. Children enjoyed the physical activity practice more than the seated practice. These findings suggest that integrating physical activity with academic instruction may be a realistic strategy for promoting physical activity because it may facilitate, not antagonize, executive function.

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Phillip D. Tomporowski and Michel Audiffren

Thirty-one young (mean age = 20.8 years) and 30 older (mean age = 71.5 years) men and women categorized as physically active (n = 30) or inactive (n = 31) performed an executive processing task while standing, treadmill walking at a preferred pace, and treadmill walking at a faster pace. Dual-task interference was predicted to negatively impact older adults’ cognitive flexibility as measured by an auditory switch task more than younger adults; further, participants’ level of physical activity was predicted to mitigate the relation. For older adults, treadmill walking was accompanied by significantly more rapid response times and reductions in local- and mixed-switch costs. A speed-accuracy tradeoff was observed in which response errors increased linearly as walking speed increased, suggesting that locomotion under dual-task conditions degrades the quality of older adults’ cognitive flexibility. Participants’ level of physical activity did not influence cognitive test performance.

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Margie E. Lachman, Shevaun D. Neupert, Rosanna Bertrand and Alan M. Jette

The authors examined whether resistance training has an effect on working memory span. Participants included 210 community-residing older adults with at least one disability from the Strong for Life program, a randomized controlled trial that examined the effects of home-based resistance exercise. Memory was assessed with the WAIS backward digit span at baseline and 3 and 6 months into the intervention. Although there were no differences between the experimental treatment and control groups in average levels of memory change, within the treatment group change in resistance level during the intervention was a significant predictor of memory change, controlling for age, education, sex, and disability level. The results suggest that strength training can benefit memory among older adults, especially when using higher resistance levels.

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J.C. Norling, Jim Sibthorp and Edward Ruddell

Background:

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.

Method:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusion:

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.

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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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Robert F. Potter and Justin Robert Keene

An experiment investigates the impact of fan identification on the cognitive and emotional processing of sports-related news media. Two coaches were featured; one conceptualized as negatively valenced the other positively. Participants completed a fan identification scale before stimuli presentation. While watching the press conferences, heart rate, skin conductance, and corrugator muscle activity were recorded as indices of cognitive resource allocation, emotional arousal, and aversive motivation activation respectively. Self-report measures were collected after each stimulus. Results show that highly identified fans process sports-related news content differently than moderate fans, allocating more cognitive resources and exhibiting greater aversive reactions to the negatively valenced coach. Comparisons between the self-report and psychophysiology data suggest that the latter may be less susceptible to social desirability response bias when emotional reaction to sports messages are concerned.

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Jennifer J. Heisz and Ana Kovacevic

Age-related changes in the brain can compromise cognitive function. However, in some cases, the brain is able to functionally reorganize to compensate for some of this loss. The present paper reviews the benefits of exercise on executive functions in older adults and discusses a potential mechanism through which exercise may change the way the brain processes information for better cognitive outcomes. Specifically, older adults who are more physically active demonstrate a shift toward local neural processing that is associated with better executive functions. We discuss the use of neural complexity as a sensitive measure of the neural network plasticity that is enhanced through exercise. We conclude by highlighting the future work needed to improve exercise prescriptions that help older adults maintain their cognitive and physical functions for longer into their lifespan.

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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.

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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.

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Isaac Estevan, Sergio Gandia, Israel Villarrasa-Sapiña, José Luis Bermejo and Xavier García-Massó

declines during DT, so performing a WMT and postural control simultaneously involves higher attentional demands than doing an ST only ( Abernethy, 1993 ; Gabbett et al., 2011 ; Teel, Register-Mihalik, Troy Blackburn, & Guskiewicz, 2013 ). Concerning the effect of WMT difficulty on cognition, we found