Background: As the lifespan of older population is prolonged, their cognitive impairment and sedentary activity are project to increase and cause a lower life quality and higher dependency, which poses an important public challenge. Physical activity (PA) is suggested as one of the key strategies to prevent cognitive impairment and sedentary activity. Bidirectional associations have been suggested between PA and cognitive functions in previous studies, there is no direct evidence for the effect of cognitive function on PA, nor any PA program based on the cognition stimulation. Cognition stimulation can be one of the most effective means to enhance the cognitive function and PA of the older adults because it is closely associated with independent judgements and executive function of daily life.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test a new program developed to examine the PA and cognition of the older women.
Methods: This study employed a non-equivalent control pre-post design. The participants comprised 56 women aged 75 or older from the two local senior centers of D-city of South Korea who do not exercise on a regular base. The experimental group (n=28) received the one-half week cognition stimulating PA program for 12 weeks, while the control group received a basal activity consisting of simple stretching and health promotion lectures. The result of the pre-test data analysis verified the homogeneity of the experimental and control groups.
Results: The results of this study were as follows: Data indicated higher scores of cognitive function (<.001) and physical performance such as balance, walk speed, and muscle strength (<.001) for the experimental group compared to the control group. The results demonstrate that the integrated program is effective for older adults to increase the cognitive function and PA. Thus, it is warranted that a specific cognition stimulating strategy facilitates PA and cognitive function. Cognitive intervention is particularly valuable for older women because it is the essential element of their independent daily living.
Audience Take Away:
- Cognition stimulation enhances not only the physical activity but also the cognitive function.
- The cognition and physical activity integration program is more accessible and feasible than the multi-modal interventions for cognition enhancement.
- This study is the first trial to confirm the effect of a physical activity and cognition integration program.
- This program is available to expand another study for young older adults (>65years) or middle aged adults.