An Acute Bout of Exercise Improves the Cognitive Performance of Older Adults

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Liam Johnson
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Patricia K. Addamo
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Isaac Selva Raj
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Erika Borkoles
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Victoria Wyckelsma
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Elizabeth Cyarto
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Remco C. Polman
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There is evidence that an acute bout of exercise confers cognitive benefits, but it is largely unknown what the optimal mode and duration of exercise is and how cognitive performance changes over time after exercise. We compared the cognitive performance of 31 older adults using the Stroop test before, immediately after, and at 30 and 60 min after a 10 and 30 min aerobic or resistance exercise session. Heart rate and feelings of arousal were also measured before, during, and after exercise. We found that, independent of mode or duration of exercise, the participants improved in the Stroop Inhibition task immediately postexercise. We did not find that exercise influenced the performance of the Stroop Color or Stroop Word Interference tasks. Our findings suggest that an acute bout of exercise can improve cognitive performance and, in particular, the more complex executive functioning of older adults.

Johnson, Addamo, Selva Raj, Borkoles, Wyckelsma, and Polman are with the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. Johnson is also with The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. Raj is also with the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Wyckelsma is also with the School of Rural Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Cyarto is with the National Ageing Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. Polman is also with the Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, James Cook University, Cairns, Australia; and the Psychology Department, Bournemouth University, Dorset, United Kingdom.

Address author correspondence to Remco Polman at rpolman@bournemouth.ac.uk.
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