Physical activity may improve your cognitive functioning.
What are the effects of different types of physical activity on cognition?
What was done?
82 participants with an average age of 67 years were randomly assigned to a resistance training group, cardiovascular exercise group, or a control group for 12 weeks. Cognitive functioning measurements were taken before and after the 12 weeks.
What was found?
Cardiovacular training was associated with improved attentive and analytical tasks. Resistance training was associated with improved practical tasks.
How does this affect me?
Participating in cardiovascular and resistance training exercise may have far reaching cognitive benefits.
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of different types of exercise on cognition. Eighty participants, 32 males and 48 females, aged 66.96 ± 11.73, volunteered for this study. The participants were randomly divided into the four following groups: Resistance Group (RG; n = 20), involved in high intensity strength training; Cardiovascular Group (CVG; n = 20), involved in high intensity cardiovascular training; Postural Group (PG; n = 20) involved in low intensity training, based on postural and balance exercises; and Control Group (CG; n = 20). Exercises were performed over the course of 12 weeks. All participants were tested for their cognitive functions pre- and post-intervention using the following neurocognitive tests: the Attentive Matrices Test, Raven’s Progressive Matrices, Stroop Color and Word Interference Test, Trail Making Test and Drawing Copy Test. Statistical analysis showed that the CVG group improved significantly in the Attentive Matrices Test and Raven’s Progressive Matrices (both p = < 0.05), whereas the RG group improved in Drawing Copy Test time (p = < 0.05). These results confirm that different types of exercise interventions have unique effects on cognition. Cardiovascular training is effective in improving performance attentive and analytic tasks, whereas resistance training is effective in improving praxis. Further investigation is necessary to evaluate the combination of the two exercise types in order to ascertain if their respective effects can be summated when performed together.