Background: Physical activity, is according to some researches, beneficial for the maintenance of cognitive function in later life and consequently can delay the progression of cognitive impairment in elderly. The most exposed systems for the decline are proper work of central executor, selective attention, distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information and recall of information from working memory. According to studies, the best physical activity is an aerobic physical activity of low intensity (60 % VO2 max).
Purpose: The purpose of a study was whether physical activity is enough or there are significantly better results if we add beside physical activity cognitive training.
Methods: According to inclusion criteria, cognitive functions were assessed, at the beginning and at the end of implementation, with RAVLT test, Stroop effect test, and an N-back test. During 12 weeks the two groups were practicing 3 times per week, 40 minutes of aerobic physical activity and 40 minutes of aerobic physical activity accompanied with 20 minutes of cognitive training,
Results: In 40 participants (2 groups of 20 participants) the group with only aerobic physical activity was significantly better in N-digit span and Stroop test, but not in RAVLT test, where the group that had cognitive test added was better. As well the results were not dependent on education level in any group.
Conclusion(s): Physical activity has benefits on cognitive functions, but in order to influence all functions adding the cognitive training could enlarge the benefit. Most of the cognitive training intervention claim that education level can have a significant role. It seems that the influence of physical activity can reduce that influence.
Implications: The current data suggest that physical activity may help to improve cognitive function and, consequently, delay the progression of cognitive impairment in the elderly. Even though the ideal dose of physical activity varies and should be based on age, fitness level, comorbid illnesses, and other factors, the impact of physical activity is to be considered as one of the benefit factors. As the slowdown of a decline of the cognitive abilities is essential for the individual bio-psycho-social wellbeing, a proper physical activity, and its intensity should be used as a supportive therapy.
Key-Words: Physical activity, cognitive function, elderly
Funding acknowledgements: None