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Are There Extended Cognitive Improvements from Different Kinds of Acute Bouts of Physical Activity?

  • Acute bouts of physical activity of at least moderate intensity have shown to enhance cognition in young as well as older adults. This effect has been observed for different kinds of activities such as aerobic or strength and coordination training. However, only few studies have directly compared these activities regarding their effectiveness. Further, most previous studies have mainly focused on inhibition and have not examined other important core executive functions (i.e., updating, switching) which are essential for our behavior in daily life (e.g., staying focused, resisting temptations, thinking before acting), as well. Therefore, this study aimed to directly compare two kinds of activities, aerobic and coordinative, and examine how they might affect executive functions (i.e., inhibition, updating, and switching) in a test-retest protocol. It is interesting for practical implications, as coordinative exercises, for example, require little space and would be preferable in settings such as an office or a classroom. Furthermore, we designed our experiment in such a way that learning effects were controlled. Then, we tested the influence of acute bouts of physical activity on the executive functioning in both young and older adults (young 16–22 years, old 65–80 years). Overall, we found no differences between aerobic and coordinative activities and, in fact, benefits from physical activities occurred only in the updating tasks in young adults. Additionally, we also showed some learning effects that might influence the results. Thus, it is important to control cognitive tests for learning effects in test-retest studies as well as to analyze effects from physical activity on a construct level of executive functions.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Mathias Haeger, Nils Bury, Christian Endres, Stefanie Klatt
Parent Title (English):Journal of Cognitive Enhancement
First Page:401
Last Page:411
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2020/06/05
Copyright:Open Access funding provided by Projekt DEAL. This work was supported by a stipend “Impaired Mobility in older Age” (number 820002) sponsored by the German Sport University Cologne and awarded to M. Haeger.
Funding Information:(c) The Author(s) 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Keyword:Cognition; Executive functions; Older adults; Physical activity; Young adults
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Informatik
Institute of Visual Computing (IVC)
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 004 Datenverarbeitung; Informatik
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Entry in this database:2020/06/07
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International