Skip to main content
×
Home

Leisure-time physical activity over the life course and cognitive functioning in late mid-adult years: a cohort-based investigation

  • A. Dregan (a1) and M. C. Gulliford (a1)
Abstract
Background

The objective of the present study was to estimate the association between different leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) parameters from 11 to 50 years and cognitive functioning in late mid-adulthood.

Method

The study used a prospective birth cohort study including participants in the UK National Child Development Study (NCDS) from age 11 to 50 years. Standardized z scores for cognitive, memory and executive functioning at age 50 represented the primary outcome measures. Exposures included self-reported LTPA at ages 11, 16, 33, 42, 46 and 50 years. Analyses were adjusted for important confounders including educational attainment and long-standing illness.

Results

The adjusted difference in cognition score between women who reported LTPA for at least 4 days/week in five surveys or more and those who never reported LTPA for at least 4 days/week was 0.28 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.20–0.35], 0.10 (95% CI 0.01–0.19) for memory score and 0.30 (95% CI 0.23–0.38) for executive functioning score. For men, the equivalent differences were: cognition 0.12 (95% CI 0.05–0.18), memory 0.06 (95% CI − 0.02 to 0.14) and executive functioning 0.16 (95% CI 0.10–0.23).

Conclusions

This study provides novel evidence about the lifelong association between LTPA and memory and executive functioning in mid-adult years. Participation in low-frequency and low-intensity LTPA was positively associated with cognitive functioning in late mid-adult years for men and women. The greatest benefit emerged from participating in lifelong intensive LTPA.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Dr A. Dregan, NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's and St Thomas'NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, 6th Floor, Capital House, 42 Weston Street, London SE1 3QD, UK. (Email: alexandru.dregan@kcl.ac.uk)
References
Hide All
Angevaren M, Vanhees L, Nooyens ACJ, Wendel-Wos W, Vershcuren VM (2010). Physical activity and 5-year cognitive decline in the Doetinchem cohort study. Annals of Epidemiology 20, 473479.
Angevaren M, Vanhees L, Wendel-Wos W, Veerhar HJ, Aufdemkampe G, Aleman A, Vershcuren VM (2007). Intensity, but not duration, of physical activities is associated with cognitive function. European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation 14, 825830.
Baars MA, van Boxtel MP, Dijkstra , Visser PJ, van den Akker M, Verhey FR, Jolles J (2009). Predictive value of mild cognitive impairment for dementia: the influence of case definition and age. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders 27, 173181.
Bijnen FCH, Caspersen CJ, Feskens EJM, Saris WH, Mosterd WL, Kromhout D (1998). Physical activity and 1-year mortality from cardiovascular diseases and all causes. The Zupthen Elderly Study. Archives of Internal Medicine 158, 14991505.
Bowles HR, Fitzgerald SJ, Morrow JR, Jackson AW, Blair SN (2004). Construct validity of self-reported historical physical activity. American Journal of Epidemiology 160, 279286.
Brown M, Dodgeon B (2010). NCDS Cognitive Assessment at Age 50: Initial Results. Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education: London.
Chang M, Jonsson PV, Snaedal J, Bjornsson S, Saczynski JS, Aspelund T, Eiriksdottir G, Jonsdottir MK, Lopez OL, Harris TN, Gudnason V, Launer LJ (2010). The effect of midlife physical activity on cognitive function among older adults: AGES–Reykjavik study. Journal of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 65, 13691374.
Department of Health (2004). At Least Five a Week: Evidence on the Impact of Physical Activity on Health. Department of Health: London.
Devore EE, Kang JH, Okereke O, Gordstein F (2009). Physical activity levels and cognition in women with Type 2 diabetes. American Journal of Epidemiology 170, 10401047.
Dik MG, Deeg DJH, Visser M, Jonker C (2010). Early life physical activity and cognition at old age. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 25, 643653.
Douglas JWB (1964). The Home and the School. Panther Books: London.
Dregan A, Brown J, Armstrong D (2011). Do adult emotional and behavioural outcomes vary as a function of diverse childhood experiences of the public care system? Psychological Medicine 41, 22132220.
Dregan A, Gulliford MC (2011). Foster care, residential care and public care placement patterns are associated with adult life trajectories: population-based cohort study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 47, 15171526.
Dregan A, Gulliford MC (2012). Is illicit drug use harmful to cognitive functioning in the midadult years? A cohort-based investigation. American Journal of Epidemiology 175, 218227.
Friedenreich CM, Courneya KS, Neilson HK, Matthews CE, Willis G, Irwin M, Trionao R, Ballard-Barbash R (2006). Reliability and validity of the Past Year Total Physical Activity Questionnaire. American Journal of Epidemiology 163, 959970.
Friedenreich CM, Cust AE (2008). Physical activity and breast cancer risk: impact of timing, type and dose of activity and population subgroup effects. British Journal of Sports Medicine 42, 636647.
Gomez-Pinilla F (2011). Collaborative effect of diet and exercise on cognitive enhancement. Nutrition and Health 20, 165169.
Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, Powell KE, Blair SN, Franklin BA, Macera CA, Heath GW, Thompson PD, Bauman A (2007). Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 39, 14231434.
Hawkes D, Plewis I (2006). Modelling non-response in the National Child Development Study. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A 169, 479491.
Herzog AR, Wallace RB (1997). Measures of cognitive functioning in the AHEAD study. Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Science and Social Science 52, 3748.
Horton NJ, Lipsitz SR (2011). Multiple imputation in practice: comparison of software packages for regression models with missing variables. American Statistical Association 55, 244254.
Kramer AF, Bherer L, Colcombe SJ, Dong W, Greenough WT (2004). Environmental influences on cognitive and brain plasticity during aging. Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 59, 940957.
Lai S, Studenski S, Richards L, Perera S, Reker D, Rigler S, Duncan PW (2006). Therapeutic exercise and depressive symptoms after stroke. Journal of the American Geriatric Society 52, 240247.
Laurin D, Verreault R, Lindsay J, MacPherson K, Rockwood K (2001). Physical activity and risk of cognitive impairment and dementia in elderly persons. Archives of Neurology 58, 498504.
Loprinzi PD, Cardinal BJ (2012). Interrelationships among physical activity, depression, homocysteine, and metabolic syndrome with special considerations by sex. Preventive Medicine 54, 388394.
Lyketsos GC, Chen L, Anthony JC (1999). Cognitive decline in adulthood: an 11.5-year follow-up of the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study. American Journal of Psychiatry 156, 5865.
Middleton LE, Barnes DE, Lui LY, Yaffe K (2010). Physical activity over the life course and its association with cognitive performance and impairment in old age. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 58, 13221326.
Ostrowski K, Ohde T, Asp S, Schjerling P, Pedersen BK (1999). Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine balance in strenuous exercise in humans. Journal of Physiology 515, 287291.
Pereira AC, Huddleston DE, Brickman AM, Sosunov AA, Hen R, McKhann GM, Sloan R, Gage FH, Brown TR, Small SA (2007). An in-vivo correlate of exercise-induced neurogenesis in the adult dentate gyrus. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104, 56385643.
Power C, Elliott J (2006). Cohort profile: 1958 British birth cohort (National Child Development Study). International Journal of Epidemiology 35, 3441.
Redila VA, Christie BR (2006). Exercise-induced changes in dendritic structure and complexity in the adult hippocampal dentate gyrus. Neuroscience 137, 12991307.
Richards M, Hardy R, Wadsworth MEJ (2003). Does active leisure protect cognition? Evidence from a national birth cohort. Social Sciences and Medicine 56, 785792.
Rutter M (1967). A children's behaviour questionnaire for completion by teachers: preliminary findings. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 8, 111.
Rutter M, Tizard J, Whitmore K (1970). Education, Health and Behaviour. Longmans: London.
Sabia S, Nabi H, Kivimaki M, Shipley MJ, Marmot MG, Singh-Manoux A (2009). Health behaviors from early to late midlife as predictors of cognitive function. The Whitehall II Study. American Journal of Epidemiology 170, 428437.
Singh-Manoux A, Hillsdon M, Brunner E, Marmot M (2005). Effects of physical activity on cognitive functioning in middle age: evidence from the Whitehall II prospective cohort study. American Journal of Public Health 95, 22522258.
Stamatakis E, Hamer M, Lawlor DA (2009). Physical activity, mortality and cardiovascular disease: is domestic physical activity beneficial? American Journal of Epidemiology 169, 11911200.
Stern Y (2006). Cognitive reserve and Alzheimer disease. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders 20, 112117.
Tierney MC, Moineddin R, Morra A, Manosn J, Blake J (2010). Intensity of recreational physical activity throughout life and later life cognitive functioning in women. Journal of Alzheimer Disease 22, 13311338.
van Dam RM, Li T, Spiegelman D, Franco OH, Hu FB (2008). Combined impact of lifestyle factors on mortality: prospective cohort study in US women. British Medical Journal 37, a1440.
Vercambre MN, Grodstein F, Manson J, Stampfer M, Kang JH (2011). Physical activity and cognition in women with vascular conditions. Archives of Internal Medicine 171, 12441250.
Weuve J, Kang JH, Manson JE, Breteler MM, Ware JH, Grodstein F (2004). Physical activity, including walking, and cognitive function in older women. Journal of the American Medical Association 292, 14541461.
Yaffe K, Barnes D, Nevitt M, Lui LY, Covinsky K (2001). A prospective study of physical activity and cognitive decline in elderly women: women who walk. Archives of Internal Medicine 161, 17031708.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 7
Total number of PDF views: 75 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 507 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.