Impact of regular aerobic activities on cognitive processes in seniors

  • K. Sneidere
  • J. Harlamova
  • V. Arnis
  • Z. Ulmane
  • I. Mintale
  • K. Kupcs
  • A. Stepens


Background: World Health organization prognosis is that by the Year 2050 seniors aged over 60 will account for 22% of the world population (WHO, 2015). Recent research results indicate a relationship between aerobic physical activity and cognitive functioning (e.g. Erickson et al., 2011); however, there is still very little evidence on the impact of long-term aerobic activities on cognitive functioning. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study, in which 33 healthy seniors aged 65 – 85 (M = 72.73, SD = 4.95) are currently involved. Participants are divided into three groups – seniors with regular long-term aerobic activity experience, seniors with recent regular aerobic activity experience and sedentary seniors. To assess working memory, The Numbers Reversed test (Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001) is used. To assess attention Map Test of Everyday Attention (Robertson, Ward, Ridgeway, & Nimmo-smith, 1996) and Reaction time test (Molotanovs, 2011) are used. To determine the physical activity of each participant a modified version of Social Determinants of Health Behaviours (FINBALT, 2008) is used. Data are analysed with ANOVA analysis with Post Hoc test (LSD). Expected results: Preliminary results indicate significant differences in long-term aerobic activity group and sedentary group in attention switching (p = .015), working memory (p = .031) and simple reaction time (p = .045). Current stage of work: Data acquisition and analysis is still in progress. Discussion: The study results indicate that involvement in regular long-term aerobic activities may have impact on such executive cognitive processes as working memory, attention and reaction time.
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