Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2015) 14, 574 - 583

Research article
Effects of Acute Aerobic Exercise on Executive Function in Older Women
Roseann Peiffer, Lynn A. Darby , Adam Fullenkamp, Amy L. Morgan
Author Information
Exercise Science Program, School of Human Movement, Sport and Leisure Studies, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, USA

Lynn A. Darby
‚úČ 218 Eppler South, Exercise Science Program, School of Human Movement, Sport and Leisure Studies, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA
Publish Date
Received: 27-10-2014
Accepted: 19-05-2015
Published (online): 11-08-2015
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Acute aerobic exercise may increase cognitive processing speed among tasks demanding a substantial degree of executive function. Few studies have investigated executive function after acute exercise in older adults across various exercise intensities. Healthy females 60-75 years of age (n = 11) who were not on medications completed 20-min exercise sessions at a moderate (50%VO2max) exercise intensity and a vigorous (75%VO2max) exercise intensity. Modified flanker tasks (reaction times) and d2 tests of sustained and selective attention (components of executive function) were completed before, immediately after, and 30-min post-exercise. Results indicated that older adult females had improved scores on the modified flanker task reaction times (RTT, RTI, RTC) and d2 tests immediately after both moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic exercise. Some of these effects were maintained 30 min post-exercise. These findings suggest that an acute bout of exercise, regardless of intensity, can improve performance on tests of executive function in older women.

Key words: Executive function, aerobic exercise, reaction time

           Key Points
  • Few studies have investigated the effects of the intensity of exercise on executive function in older women
  • Executive function improved after 20-min of aerobic exercise regardless of exercise intensity in older women
  • Findings from the study were not confounded by prescribed medications; all participants who were older women were not taking any medications
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