Introduction: Physical activity is believed to prevent cognitive decline and may enhance frontal lobe activity.
Methods: Subjects were 91 healthy adults enrolled in a wellness center. Over a 10 week intervention, controls were aerobically active 0-2 days per week. Half the intervention group was active 3-4 days/week and half 5-7 days/week. Outcome measures included memory, mental speed, reaction time, attention, and cognitive flexibility.
Results: Neurocognitive data were analyzed by repeated measures comparing minimal aerobic exercise (the control group) to moderate aerobic exercise (3-4 days/week), and to high aerobic exercise (5-7 days/week). Initial analyses noted significant improvements in mental speed (p = .03), attention (p = .047), and cognitive flexibility (p = .002). After controlling for age, gender, education, and changes in psychomotor speed, only cognitive flexibility still showed significant improvements (p = .02).
Conclusion: Over a 10 week period, increasing frequency of aerobic activity was shown to be associated with enhanced cognitive performance, in particular cognitive flexibility, a measure of executive function.