More evidence is needed to conclude that a specific program of exercise and/or cognitive training warrants prescription for the prevention of cognitive decline. We examined the effect of a group-based standard exercise program for older adults, with and without dual-task training, on cognitive function in older adults without dementia.Methods
We conducted a proof-of-concept, single-blinded, 26-wk randomized controlled trial whereby participants recruited from preexisting exercise classes at the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging in London, Ontario, were randomized to the intervention group (exercise + dual-task [EDT]) or the control group (exercise only [EO]). Each week (2 or 3 d·wk−1), both groups accumulated a minimum of 50 min of aerobic exercise (target 75 min) from standard group classes and completed 45 min of beginner-level square-stepping exercise. The EDT group was also required to answer cognitively challenging questions while doing beginner-level square-stepping exercise (i.e., dual-task training). The effect of interventions on standardized global cognitive function (GCF) scores at 26 wk was compared between the groups using the linear mixed effects model approach.Results
Participants (n = 44; 68% female; mean [SD] age: 73.5 [7.2] yr) had on average, objective evidence of cognitive impairment (Montreal Cognitive Assessment scores, mean [SD]: 24.9 [1.9]) but not dementia (Mini-Mental State Examination scores, mean [SD]: 28.8 [1.2]). After 26 wk, the EDT group showed greater improvement in GCF scores compared with the EO group (difference between groups in mean change [95% CI]: 0.20 SD [0.01–0.39], P = 0.04).Conclusions
A 26-wk group-based exercise program combined with dual-task training improved GCF in community-dwelling older adults without dementia.