Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 959–967 | Cite as

Comparing the effects of an acute bout of physical exercise with an acute bout of interactive mental and physical exercise on electrophysiology and executive functioning in younger and older adults

  • Julia Dimitrova
  • Michael Hogan
  • Patrick Khader
  • Denis O’Hora
  • Liam Kilmartin
  • Jane C. Walsh
  • Richard Roche
  • Cay Anderson-Hanley
Original Article

Abstract

Background

Physical exercise has been shown to improve cognitive and neural functioning in older adults.

Aims and methods

The current study compared the effects of an acute bout of physical exercise with a bout of interactive mental and physical exercise (i.e., “exergaming”) on executive (Stroop) task performance and event-related potential (ERP) amplitudes in younger and older adults.

Results

Results revealed enhanced executive task performance in younger and older adults after exercise, with no differences in performance between exercise conditions. Stroop (RT) performance in older adults improved more than in younger adults from pre- to post-exercise. A significant increase in EEG amplitude from pre- to post-exercise was found at the Cz site from 320 to 700 ms post-stimulus for both younger and older adults, with older adults demonstrating a larger Stroop interference effect. While younger adults exhibited overall greater EEG amplitudes than older adults, they showed no differences between congruent and incongruent trials (i.e., minimal interference). Compared to peers with higher BMI (body mass index), older adults with lower BMI showed a greater reduction in Stroop interference effects from pre- to post-exercise.

Discussion and conclusions

The beneficial effects of an acute bout of physical exercise on cognitive and neural functioning in younger and older adults were confirmed, with no difference between standard exercise and exergaming. Findings suggest that BMI, sometimes used as a proxy for fitness level, may modulate benefits that older adults derive from an acute bout of exercise. Findings have implications for future research that seeks to investigate unique effects of exergaming when compared to standard physical exercise.

Keywords

Aging Stroop task Interference Mental and aerobic exercise 

References

  1. 1.
    Bishop NA, Lu T, Yankner BA (2010) Neural mechanisms of ageing and cognitive decline. Nature 464:529–535CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Erickson KI, Voss MW, Prakash RS et al (2011) Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:3017–3022CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kramer AF, Erickson KI, Colcombe SJ (2006) Exercise, cognition, and the aging brain. J Appl Physiol 101:1237–1242CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Colcombe S, Kramer AF (2003) Fitness effects on the cognitive function of older adults a meta-analytic study. Psychol Sci 14:125–130CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Stroth S, Kubesch S, Dieterle K et al (2009) Physical fitness, but not acute exercise modulates event-related potential indices for executive control in healthy adolescents. Brain Res 1269:114–124CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chang YK, Labban J, Gapin J et al (2012) The effects of acute exercise on cognitive performance: a meta-analysis. Brain Res 1453:87–101CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Puccioni O, Vallesi A (2012) Conflict resolution and adaptation in normal aging: the role of verbal intelligence and cognitive reserve. Psychol Aging 27:1018CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    West R, Alain C (2000) Age-related decline in inhibitory control contributes to the increased Stroop effect observed in older adults. Psychophysiology 37:179–189CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    West R, Moore K (2005) Adjustments of cognitive control in younger and older adults. Cortex 41:570–581CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Anderson-Hanley C, Arciero PJ, Brickman AM et al (2012) Exergaming and older adult cognition: a cluster randomized clinical trial. Am J Prev Med 42:109–119CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Maillot P, Perlot A, Hartley A (2012) Effects of interactive physical-activity video-game training on physical and cognitive function in older adults. Psychol Aging 27:589–600CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Badzakova-Trajkov G, Barnett KJ, Waldie KE et al (2009) An ERP investigation of the Stroop task: the role of the cingulate in attentional allocation and conflict resolution. Brain Res 1253:139–148CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Liotti M, Woldorff MG, Perez R et al (2000) An ERP study of the temporal course of the Stroop color-word interference effect. Neuropsychologia 38:701–711CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hogan M, Kiefer M, Kubesch S et al (2013) The interactive effects of physical fitness and acute aerobic exercise on electrophysiological coherence and cognitive performance in adolescents. Exp Brain Res 229:85–96CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chodzko-Zajko WJ, Proctor DN, Fiatarone Singh MA et al (2009) American College of Sports Medicine Position stand. Exercise and physical activity for older adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc 41:1510–1530. doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181a0c95c CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kerns JG, Cohen JD, MacDonald AW et al (2004) Anterior cingulate conflict monitoring and adjustments in control. Science 303:1023–1026CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Gratton G, Coles MG, Donchin E (1983) A new method for off-line removal of ocular artifact. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 55:468–484CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hyodo K, Dan I, Suwabe K et al (2012) Acute moderate exercise enhances compensatory brain activation in older adults. Neurobiol Aging 33:2621–2632CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Yanagisawa H, Dan I, Tsuzuki D et al (2010) Acute moderate exercise elicits increased dorsolateral prefrontal activation and improves cognitive performance with Stroop test. Neuroimage 50:1702–1710CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    O’Leary KC, Pontifex MB, Scudder MR et al (2011) The effects of single bouts of aerobic exercise, exergaming, and videogame play on cognitive control. Clin Neurophysiol 122:1518–1525CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Robert G, Hockey J (1997) Compensatory control in the regulation of human performance under stress and high workload: a cognitive-energetical framework. Biol Psychol 45:73–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Tsai CL, Chen FC, Pan CY et al (2014) Impact of acute aerobic exercise and cardiorespiratory fitness on visuospatial attention performance and serum BDNF levels. Psychoneuroendocrinology 41:121–131CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ludwig-Maximillians-University MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.National University IrelandGalwayIreland
  3. 3.Union CollegeSchenectadyUSA
  4. 4.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada
  5. 5.National University of IrelandMaynoothIreland

Personalised recommendations