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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2009 May;64(3):356-63. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbp030. Epub 2009 Apr 10.

Acute effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive function in older adults.

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  • 1Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, 2-579-15, Mikajima, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-1192, Japan.


The present study investigated the effects of acute aerobic exercise on cognitive brain functions of older adults. Twenty-four males (12 older and 12 younger adults) performed a modified flanker task during a baseline session (no exercise) and after light and moderate cycling exercise in counterbalanced order on different days while measures of task performance and the P3 component of an event-related brain potential were collected. The results indicated that, for both age groups, reaction time following moderate exercise was shorter relative to the other sessions, and P3 latencies following both light and moderate exercise were shorter compared with the baseline session. In contrast, P3 amplitude increased only following moderate exercise in younger adults. These findings suggest that light and moderate exercises improve cognitive function across the adult lifespan, although the mechanisms underlying the effects of observed acute aerobic exercise on cognitive function may be age dependent.

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