Physical inactivity has been shown to increase the risk for several chronic diseases across the lifespan. However, the impact of physical activity and aerobic fitness on childhood cognitive and brain health has only recently gained attention. The purposes of this article are to: 1) highlight the recent emphasis for increasing physical activity and aerobic fitness in children’s lives for cognitive and brain health; 2) present aspects of brain development and cognitive function that are susceptible to physical activity intervention; 3) review neuroimaging studies examining the cross-sectional and experimental relationships between aerobic fitness and executive control function; and 4) make recommendations for future research. Given that the human brain is not fully developed until the third decade of life, preadolescence is characterized by changes in brain structure and function underlying aspects of cognition including executive control and relational memory. Achieving adequate physical activity and maintaining aerobic fitness in childhood may be a critical guideline to follow for physical as well as cognitive and brain health.
Naiman A. Khan and Charles H. Hillman
Daniel Gould, Robert C. Eklund and Susan A. Jackson
This study involved extensive interviews with all 20 members of the 1988 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team about their performances in the Seoul Olympics. Qualitative research methodology and analyses were employed to acquire and preserve rich representations of these experiences. Mental preparation strategies, precompetitive cognition, and affect were examined by having the wrestlers respond to a series of questions about their all-time best match, worst Olympic match, and most crucial Olympic match. Considerable consistency was found across wrestlers’ responses regarding all-time best and worst Olympic matches whereas striking differences were found between the best and worst matches. For example, before best matches, wrestlers followed mental preparation plans and routines and were extremely confident, totally focused, and optimally aroused. They also focused on clear tactical strategies. Before worst matches, wrestlers were not confident, had inappropriate feeling states and experienced many task-irrelevant and negative thoughts, and deviated from preparation plans. These results are consistent with other research with Olympic athletes and suggest that precompetitive states play a critical role in competitive performance.
Shannon S. Block, Trevor R. Tooley, Matthew R. Nagy, Molly P. O’Sullivan, Leah E. Robinson, Natalie Colabianchi and Rebecca E. Hasson
games on some aspects of cognition in college students. Results suggested that following a single session of either violent or nonviolent computer-game play, participants scored better on a task requiring short-term working memory, visual attention, auditory perception, and mathematical decision making
Wonjae Choi and Seungwon Lee
, indicating the high accuracy of the measurement ( Wang & Chen, 2010 ). Cognitive function was assessed using Montreal Cognitive Assessment ( Freitas, Simoes, Alves, & Santana, 2013 ) and General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition ( Brodaty, Kemp, & Low, 2004 ). Montreal Cognitive Assessment assesses
Jeffrey D. Labban and Jennifer L. Etnier
cognition when assessed within 15 min of exercise cessation, but nonsignificant overall effects when cognition was assessed more than 15 min following exercise cessation. Memory, however, is one cognitive domain for which the effects of acute exercise may be more durable. Long-term memory has been
Catherine L. Davis, Joseph P. Tkacz, Phillip D. Tomporowski and Eduardo E. Bustamante
This study tested whether participation in organized physical activity (active vs. inactive) or weight status (normal weight vs. overweight or obese) independently relate to children’s cognition, using a matched-pairs design.
Design and Methods:
Normal weight, active children (8–11 yrs, 5th-75th percentile BMI) were recruited from extracurricular physical activity programs while normal weight inactive (5th-75th percentile BMI) and overweight inactive children (BMI ≥85th percentile) were recruited from local Augusta, Georgia area schools. Measures included the Cognitive Assessment System, anthropometrics, and parent- and self-report of physical activity. Paired t tests compared cognition scores between matched groups of normal weight active vs. normal weight inactive (N = 24 pairs), normal weight inactive vs. overweight inactive (N = 21 pairs), and normal weight active vs. overweight inactive children (N = 16 pairs). Children in each comparison were matched for race, gender, age, and socioeconomic status.
Normal weight active children had higher Planning (M± SD = 109 ± 11 vs. 100 ± 11, p = .011) and Attention scores (108 ± 11 vs. 100 ± 11, p = .013) than overweight inactive children. Normal weight inactive children had higher Attention scores than overweight inactive children (105 ± 13 vs. 93 ± 12, p = .008). When compared with normal weight inactive children, normal weight active children had higher Planning (113 ± 10 vs. 102 ± 13, p = .008) and marginally higher Attention scores (111 ± 11 vs. 104 ± 12, p = .06).
Findings suggest independent associations of children’s weight status with selective attention, and physical activity with higher-order processes of executive function.
Natalie Frost, Michael Weinborn, Gilles E. Gignac, Shaun Markovic, Stephanie R. Rainey-Smith, Hamid R. Sohrabi, Ralph N. Martins, Jeremiah J. Peiffer and Belinda M. Brown
Participants The participants for this study were drawn from the Intense Physical Activity and Cognition Study (IPAC; Clinical Trial number: ACTRN12617000643370). study cohort ( Brown et al., 2017 ). All participants were cognitively normal older adults (≥26 on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment), aged between
Arnaud Dechamps, Chérifa Onifade, Arnaud Decamps and Isabelle Bourdel-Marchasson
No previous studies have explored the effects of mind–body approaches on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in the frail elderly. Cognition and action are an inseparable whole during functioning. Thus, a new intervention-based approach using familiarity-based movements and a nonjudgmental approach of “cognition-action” was proposed and was tested with Tai Chi on HRQoL in frail institutionalized elderly. Fifty-two participants (58% women) age 65–94 took part in a 24-wk Tai Chi (TC) intervention 4 days/wk or a cognition-action (CA) exercise program of 30 min twice a week. Changes in Mini Mental State score, physical (PCS) and mental component (MCS) summaries (SF12); Falls Efficacy Scale (FES); and exercise self-efficacy were explored. PCS improved from 33.6 ± 6.7 to 51 ± 4.8 in the TC group and from 30.6 ± 9.9 to 45.1 ± 10.2 in the CA group (p < .001). MCS of SF-12 (p < .001), FES (p < .001), and exercise self-efficacy (p < .01) were enhanced significantly in both groups. Adapted CA programs and Tai Chi were both efficient in improving HRQoL of frail elderly.
Nicole L. Hoffman, Hannes Devos and Julianne D. Schmidt
Psychology . Boca Raton, FL : CRC Press ; 2011 : 1 – 11 . 31. Marcotte TD , Rosenthal TJ , Roberts E , et al . The contribution of cognition and spasticity to driving performance in multiple sclerosis . Arch Phys Med Rehabil . 2008 ; 89 ( 9 ): 1753 – 1758 . PubMed doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2007
Cay Anderson-Hanley, Molly Maloney, Nicole Barcelos, Kristina Striegnitz and Arthur Kramer
Dementia cases are on the rise and researchers seek innovative ways to prevent or ameliorate cognitive impairment in later life. Some research has reported that combining mental and physical exercise may benefit cognition more than either alone. This randomized pilot trial examined the feasibility and cognitive benefit for older adults (n = 30) of a single bout of neuro-exergaming (physical activity with cognitive training) using an interactive physical and cognitive exercise system (iPACES), compared with that of exergaming or neurogaming alone. Intent-to-treat and sensitivity analyses were conducted using repeated-measures ANOVA, controlling for age, sex, and education. A significant interaction effect was found for executive function (Color Trails 2), with a significant improvement in the neuro-exergaming condition. Results demonstrate feasibility for older adults to use a novel and theoretically-derived neuro-exergame, and also provide promising new evidence that neuro-exergaming can yield greater cognitive benefit than either of its component parts.