Effects of habitual moderate exercise on response processing and cognitive processing in older adults

Jpn J Physiol. 2005 Feb;55(1):29-36. doi: 10.2170/jjphysiol.R2068.


We examined the effects of habitual moderate exercise on central information processing in older individuals using the reaction time (RT) and P3 component of event-related brain potentials (ERP). The present study was designed to assess cognitive function by comparing groups of 20 older individuals (69.20 +/- 1.3 years active group) who regularly engage in moderate physical activity with 20 subjects (66.90 +/- 1.1 years inactive group) who do comparatively little exercise. Subjects performed a somatosensory oddball task composed of pressing a button with their right foot as fast as possible following an electrical stimulus applied to the right index finger, and not responding to an electrical stimulus applied to the left index finger. Electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded at the frontal (Fz), central (Cz), and parietal (Pz) sites according to the International 10-20 system referenced to linked earlobes. The RT was faster for the active group than for the inactive group, and the P3 amplitude of the active group was significantly larger than that of the inactive group. Moreover, the P3 amplitude for the active group was maximum at Pz and significantly larger than at Fz and Cz, but for the inactive group it was identical between Fz and Pz. The results suggest that habitual moderate exercise exerts positive influences in older adults not only on response processing, but also on cognitive processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Event-Related Potentials, P300 / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology