Sneidere K., Harlamova J., Perepjolkina V., Arnis V., Martinsone K., Stepens A.
Riga Stradins University, Latvia
Relevance of the research. An increasing number of studies indicate a positive relationship between cognition and physical activities, particularly those involving aerobic fitness (Bunce, Murdon, 2005; Colcombe, Kramer, 2003). Research confirms that short-medium term (“acute”) exercise not only improves such cognitive functions as attention, processing speed, executive function as well as memory in cognitively-intact healthy older adults (Smith et al., 2009), but there is growing evidence on changes in brain structures induced by such exercise as well (Erickson et al., 2011; Voss et al., 2010). Current study focuses on a question on the net attainable gain that can be achieved from long-term exercise regimes sustained into older adulthood: how much benefit can regular exercise produce and how does this benefit manifest over the years when age-related decline is the norm?
Research methods and organization. To assess the relevance of long-term aerobic exercise on healthy aging 100 volunteers, aged > 65, will be engaged in the study. The participants will include older adults that have been doing aerobic exercises for at least 20 years daily and older adults that choose to do aerobic exercises in their leisure time. The research will consist of two parts – firstly, a detailed psychological testing will be conducted in order to evaluate cognitive functioning and document the life-style and habits of the participants. Secondly, an analysis of body composition, determination of aerobic capacity and an examination of brain structure with MRI will be conducted. A cardiac examination will be conducted before determining the aerobic capacity.
Results and discussion. The research results will provide additional arguments for policy-makers and practitioners, in order to successfully implement healthy aging strategies.