The Impact of Resistance Exercise on the Cognitive Function of the Elderly

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Abstract

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of 24 wk of resistance training at two different intensities on cognitive functions in the elderly.

Methods:

Sixty-two elderly individuals were randomly assigned to three groups: CONTROL (N = 23), experimental moderate (EMODERATE; N = 19), and experimental high (EHIGH; N = 20). The volunteers were assessed on physical, hemodynamic, cognitive, and mood parameters before and after the program.

Results:

On the 1 RM test (P < 0.001), the two experimental groups performed better than the CONTROL group, but they did not show differences between themselves. The EHIGH group gained more lean mass (P = 0.05) than the CONTROL group and performed better on the following tests: digit span forward (P < 0.001), Corsi's block-tapping task backward (P = 0.001), similarities (P = 0.03), Rey-Osterrieth complex figure immediate recall (P = 0.02), Toulouse-Pieron concentration test errors (P = 0.01), SF-36 (general health) (P = 0.04), POMS (tension-anxiety, P = 0.04; depression-dejection, P = 0.03; and total mood disorder, P = 0.03). The EMODERATE group scored higher means than the CONTROL group on digit span forward (P < 0.001), Corsi's block-tapping task backward (P = 0.01), similarities (P = 0.02), Rey-Osterrieth complex figure immediate recall (P = 0.02), SF-36 (general health, P = 0.005; vitality, P = 0.006), POMS (tension-anxiety, P = 0.001; depression-dejection, P = 0.006; anger-hostility, P = 0.006; fatigue-inertia, P = 0.02; confusion-bewilderment, P = 0.02; and total mood disorder, P = 0.001). We also found that IGF-1 serum levels were higher in the experimental groups (EMODERATE, P = 0.02; EHIGH, P < 0.001).

Conclusions:

Moderate- and high-intensity resistance exercise programs had equally beneficial effects on cognitive functioning.

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