Improving aerobic capacity in healthy older adults does not necessarily lead to improved cognitive performance

Author: Madden DJ//Blumenthal JA//Allen PA//Emery CF
Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Duke University Medical Center
Conference/Journal: Psychol Aging
Date published: 1989
Other: Volume ID: 4 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: 307-20 , Special Notes: Clinical Trial Randomized Controlled Trial , Word Count: 134

The effects of aerobic exercise training in a sample of 85 older adults were investigated. Ss were assigned randomly to either an aerobic exercise group, a nonaerobic exercise (yoga) group, or a waiting-list control group. Following 16 weeks of the group-specific protocol, all of the older Ss received 16 weeks of aerobic exercise training. The older adults demonstrated a significant increase in aerobic capacity (cardiorespiratory fitness). Performance on reaction-time tests of attention and memory retrieval was slower for the older adults than for a comparison group of 24 young adults, and there was no improvement in the older adults' performance on these tests as a function of aerobic exercise training. Results suggest that exercise-related changes in older adults' cognitive performance are due either to extended periods of training or to cohort differences between physically active and sedentary individuals.