Acute Effects of Exercise on Neuropsychological Function in Elderly Subjects
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Fit elderly score higher on tests of fluid intelligence than aged-matched sedentary controls. Elderly patients who have taken part in exercise programs have shown improvement in mental function. We compared the effects of 45 minutes of exercise on memory, mood, and cognitive function in elderly subjects to a control intervention using a randomized control study design. Neuropsychological tests employed where the color slide test, digit symbol test, digit span test, logical memory test, word fluency test, and the Mini-Mental State Examination. We measured mood using a mood test and geriatric depression scale. Each subject was tested before, and immediately after, control and exercise sessions. Fifteen elderly subjects [ten men and five women; mean age, 66 years, (range, 60 to 85 years)] completed the study. There was a greater improvement in six of the eight scores of cognitive function following exercise, compared to control. These differences were significantly greater following exercise for the logical memory test score (P less than or equal to 0.02) and Mini-Mental State Examination (P less than or equal to 0.025) compared with the control intervention.