Physical Activity, Exercise Physiology, Movement
Effects of a 6-month exercise intervention on non-verbal memory in older adults at risk for stroke.
(School of Public Health (UMD) Kinesiology Undergraduate Student)
Introduction: Nonverbal memory has been found to decrease in accuracy with age and can be measured using the immediate and delayed recognition of the spatial orientation of geometric symbols and patterns. This study implemented a 6-month exercise program to determine the effects of exercise on non-verbal memory of older adults at risk for stroke. Methods: Ten subjects (1 male) over the age of 60, participated in a low-intensity exercise program, three days a week for six months. Exercises included aerobic mobility and strengthening. We measured non-verbal memory using the computerized Neurotrax system at baseline (T1), three months (T2), and after 6 months (T3). Results: Data for all three time points was available for only 3 participants. Paired t-tests showed significant (2-tailed) differences. Normalized indices of non-verbal memory were different between T1(M=92.4, SD=20.8) and T2(M=106.5, SD=18.5), p=0.022, N = 4, and between T2(M=99.2, SD=15.3) and T3(M=113.0, SD=16.2),p=0.020, N=7. Looking at the raw percentage scores after each trial, accuracy differences were found after trial 2 [T2(M=50.3%, SD=20.3) and T3(M=69.9%, SD=21.4), p=0.034, N=7] and after trial 4 [T1(M=46.0%, SD=31.2) and T3(M=67.0%, SD=25.9), p=0.034, N=3; and T2(M=57.6%, SD=24.8) and T3(M=78.9%, SD=20.0), p=0.031, N=7). Conclusion: Past exercise intervention studies have found an increase in the anterior hippocampus that was correlated with improvements in spatial memory. Our study coincides with these previous findings indicating that nonverbal memory involving spatial orientation can be improved with exercise in older adults.