Hillman, C. H. et al. Physical activity and cognitive function in a cross-section of younger and older community-dwelling individuals. Health Psychol. 25, 678-687

Department of Biological Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.59). 12/2006; 25(6):678-87. DOI: 10.1037/0278-6133.25.6.678
Source: PubMed


Previous reports have indicated a small, positive relationship between physical activity and cognition. However, the majority of research has focused on older adults, with few studies examining this relationship during earlier periods of the life span. This study examined the relationship of physical activity to cognition in a cross-section of 241 community-dwelling individuals 15-71 years of age with a task requiring variable amounts of executive control. Data were analyzed with multiple regression, which controlled for age, sex, and IQ. Participants reported their physical activity behavior and were tested for reaction time (RT) and response accuracy on congruent and incongruent conditions of a flanker task, which manipulates interference control. After controlling for confounding variables, an age-related slowing of RT was observed during both congruent and incongruent flanker conditions. However, physical activity was associated with faster RT during these conditions, regardless of age. Response accuracy findings indicated that increased physical activity was associated with better performance only during the incongruent condition for the older cohort. Findings suggest that physical activity may be beneficial to both general and selective aspects of cognition, particularly among older adults.

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    • "A growing base of research suggests that non-pharmacological interventions, such as exercise training, may counteract the detrimental effects of neurocognitive illnesses. The cognitive benefits of physical exercise across the adult lifespan have been well documented (Bamidis et al., 2014; Chang, Labban, Gapin, & Etnier, 2012; Hillman et al., 2006; Etnier, Sibley, Pomeroy, & Kao, 2003). Benefits from both single-bouts of exercise (O'Leary, Pontifex, Scudder, Brown, & Hillman, 2011; Roig, Skriver, Lundbye-Jensen, Kiens, & Nielsen, 2012) and long-term fitness training have been recognized (Baker et al., 2010; Colcombe & Kramer, 2003; Prakash et al., 2015). "
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    ABSTRACT: Dementia cases are increasing worldwide; thus, investigators seek to identify interventions that might prevent or ameliorate cognitive decline in later life. Extensive research confirms the benefits of physical exercise for brain health, yet only a fraction of older adults exercise regularly. Interactive mental and physical exercise, as in aerobic exergaming, not only motivates, but has also been found to yield cognitive benefit above and beyond traditional exercise. This pilot study sought to investigate whether greater cognitive challenge while exergaming would yield differential outcomes in executive function and generalize to everyday functioning. Sixty-four community based older adults (mean age=82) were randomly assigned to pedal a stationary bike, while interactively engaging on-screen with: (1) a low cognitive demand task (bike tour), or (2) a high cognitive demand task (video game). Executive function (indices from Trails, Stroop and Digit Span) was assessed before and after a single-bout and 3-month exercise intervention. Significant group × time interactions were found after a single-bout (Color Trails) and after 3 months of exergaming (Stroop; among 20 adherents). Those in the high cognitive demand group performed better than those in the low cognitive dose condition. Everyday function improved across both exercise conditions. Pilot data indicate that for older adults, cognitive benefit while exergaming increased concomitantly with higher doses of interactive mental challenge. ( JINS , 2015, 21 , 768–779)
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society
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    • "The strengths of our study include a large sample size, objective measurement of daily MVPA, aerobic fitness and adiposity, and controlling for important confounders (IQ, maternal education, objectively assessed adiposity, ADHD status based on clinical assessments). Our study is also one of a few (Hillman et al., 2006) to inspect the relations of physical activity to cognitive function in older adolescents. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess the relations of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) to cognitive functions in 15-year-old adolescents from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children while controlling for aerobic fitness. A sub-sample of 667 adolescents (M age = 15.4 ± 0.16 years; 55 % females) who provided valid data on variables of interest, were used in the analyses. MVPA was objectively assessed using an Actigraph GT1M accelerometer and aerobic fitness was expressed as physical work capacity at the heart rate of 170 beats per minute from a cycle ergometer test. A computerized stop-signal task was used to measure mean reaction time (RT) and standard deviation of RT, as indicators of cognitive processing speed and variability during an attention and inhibitory control task. MVPA was not significantly related to cognitive processing speed or variability of cognitive performance in hierarchical linear regression models. In simple regression models, aerobic fitness was negatively related to mean RT on the simple go condition. Our results suggest that aerobic fitness, but not MVPA, was associated with cognitive processing speed under less cognitively demanding task conditions. The results thus indicate a potential global effect of aerobic fitness on cognitive functions in adolescents but this may differ depending on the specific task characteristics.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Psychological Research
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    • "Prior to hypothesis testing, independent samples t-tests were calculated between the dependent variables, SE, and sex and bivariate Pearson Product Moment correlations were calculated between the dependent variables, SE, personality, and other individual difference factors (i.e., age, IQ). Correlations including personality, age, and IQ and t-tests including sex were examined due to findings in previous research showing relations between these individual difference variables and SE (Rebok & Balcerak, 1989; Themanson et al., 2008; Thoms, Moore, & Scott, 1996; Zimmerman & Martinez-Pons, 1990), P3b (van Beijsterveldt et al., 1998; Ditraglia & Polich, 1991; Houlihan et al., 1998; Polich, 1996; Polich & Martin, 1992; Stelmack & Houlihan, 1994), or flanker task performance (Hillman et al., 2006; Williams et al., 2009). Separate hierarchical stepwise multiple regression analyses were conducted for each dependent measure (P3b amplitude, P3b latency, response accuracy, RT). "
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    ABSTRACT: Self-efficacy (SE) is a modifiable psychosocial factor related to individuals’ beliefs in their capabilities to successfully complete courses of action and has been shown to be positively associated with task performance. The authors hypothesized that one means through which SE is related with improved performance is through enhanced task-relevant attentional control during task execution. To assess this hypothesis, we examined the relationships between SE and behavioural and neural indices of task performance and task-relevant attentional control for 76 young adults during the completion of a flanker task. Results showed that greater SE was associated with greater response accuracy and P3b amplitude across task conditions, and faster RT under more difficult task conditions. Additionally, P3b amplitude was found to mediate the relationship between SE and task performance in the difficult condition. These findings suggest that greater attentional allocation to task-relevant processes, including monitoring stimulus-response relationships and focusing attention on working memory operations, may help explain the association between SE and improved task performance.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014
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