Get access

Objectively Measured Physical Activity Is Related to Cognitive Function in Older Adults

Authors

  • Jacqueline Kerr PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California
    2. Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California
    • Address correspondence to Jacqueline Kerr, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093. E-mail: jkerr@ucsd.edu

    Search for more papers by this author
  • Simon J. Marshall PhD,

    1. Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California
    2. Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ruth E. Patterson PhD,

    1. Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California
    2. Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Catherine R. Marinac BA,

    1. Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Loki Natarajan PhD,

    1. Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California
    2. Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Dori Rosenberg PhD,

    1. Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kari Wasilenko MPH,

    1. Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Katie Crist MPH

    1. Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California
    Search for more papers by this author

  • [Editorial comments by Kirk I. Erickson, pp. 2038–2039]

Abstract

Objectives

To explore the relationship between cognitive functioning and time spent at different intensities of physical activity (PA) in free-living older adults.

Design

Cross sectional analyses.

Setting

Continuing care retirement communities.

Participants

Older adults residing in seven continuing care retirement communities in San Diego County with an average age of 83; 70% were female, and 35% had a graduate-level education (N = 217).

Measurements

PA was measured objectively using hip worn accelerometers with data aggregated to the minute level. Three cut points were used to assess low light-intensity PA (LLPA), high light-intensity PA (HLPA), and moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA (MVPA). The Trail Making Test (TMT) Parts A and B were completed, and time for each test (seconds) and time for Part B minus time for Part A (seconds) were used as measures of cognitive function. Variables were log-transformed and entered into linear regression models adjusting for demographic factors (age, education, sex) and other PA intensity variables.

Results

LLPA was not related to any TMT test score. HLPA was significantly related to TMT A, B, and B minus A but only in unadjusted models. MVPA was related to TMT B and B minus A after adjusting for demographic variables.

Conclusion

There may be a dose response between PA intensity and cognitive functioning in older adults. The stronger findings supporting a relationship between MVPA and cognitive functioning are consistent with previous observational and intervention studies.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary