Investigation of Cognitive and Linguistic Effects of Exercise on Older Adults

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This study examines the effect of a single session of exercise on response speed, inhibitory control, and lexical processing in older adults. A prior study in college-aged adults found faster responses in domain general processing and lexical recognition after exercise, but not in inhibitory control or lexical retrieval. We hypothesized older adults would show a greater exercise benefit with slower overall response times. This study found that, relative to a sedentary control condition, there were no changes in any experimental condition. Older adults showed practice effects in the exercise and control conditions. This study shows the effects of acute exercise in older adults are negligible compared to those in younger adults, at least in the paradigm used in this study. Findings highlight the importance of using a control task and are consistent with meta-analyses that highlight small effect sizes associated with acute exercise and the role of other mediating variables.