- 6 months of aerobic exercise improved executive function among adults aged 20-67 years, with greater benefit for older individuals.
Why this matters
- General lack of interventions to slow or stop normal and pathologic age-related decline in cognition.
- At 24 weeks, aerobic exercise yielded greater improvement vs control in executive function (β=0.237; P=.038).
- Benefit increased with participant age (β=0.0184 SD/year; P=.028).
- Relative to control, aerobic exercise improved executive function:
- by 0.228 SD (95% CI, 0.007-0.448) at age 40 years and
- by 0.596 SD (95% CI, 0.219-0.973) at age 60 years.
- In adjusted analysis, individuals with ≥1 APOE ε4 allele benefited less from aerobic exercise (β=0.5129; P=.0346).
- No significant difference for other 5 cognitive domains.
- 3 adverse events (2 knee injuries, 1 bruising resulting from phlebotomy).
- Community-based randomized controlled trial among 132 cognitively normal nonsmokers aged 20-67 years with below-median aerobic capacity.
- Randomization: aerobic exercise (modality left to participant) vs control (stretching/toning), 4 times weekly for 6 months.
- Main outcomes: cognitive function in 6 domains (executive function, episodic memory, processing speed, language, attention, working memory).
- Funding: NIH.
- Smaller sample size.
- Possible self-selection for trial.
- Analyses not adjusted for multiple comparisons.