Accelerometer-determined physical activity and cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults from two generations of the Framingham Heart Study

Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2019 Oct 15:5:618-626. doi: 10.1016/j.trci.2019.08.007. eCollection 2019.


Introduction: Physical activity (PA) may play a role in maintenance of cognitive function in both middle and older ages and prevention of outcomes such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Methods: Cross-sectional regression analyses were performed in Framingham Heart Study Third Generation (n = 1861) and Offspring (n = 909) cohort participants assessing the association of accelerometry-measured PA with cognitive function, adjusting for age, sex, accelerometer wear time, education, occupational status/PA, and smoking status.

Results: In each cohort, achieving just 10-21.4 min/day moderate-to-vigorous PA related to better executive function (P < .02); and just 10 min/day moderate-to-vigorous PA was associated with better verbal memory in middle-aged adults in the Third Generation cohort (P = .02). In older adults of the Offspring cohort, total PA (measured in steps/day) was associated with better executive function (P < .02).

Discussion: PA at levels lower than the current PA Guidelines (just 10 min/day moderate-to-vigorous PA and total PA including lower intensity PA) were associated with better cognitive function.

Keywords: Accelerometer; Cognition; Epidemiology; Executive function; Exercise; Memory; Moderate-to-vigorous; Physical activity; Sedentary time.