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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 Mar 17

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.11599-3


language: English

Physical capacities and leisure activities are related with cognitive functions in older adults

Federica GONNELLI 1, 2 , Nicola GIOVANELLI 1, 2, Mirco FLOREANI 1, 2, Giulia BRAVO 1, Maria PARPINEL 1, Andrea D'AMURI 3, Gloria BROMBO 4, Edoardo DALLA NORA 4, Rado PIŠOT 5, Boštjan ŠIMUNIČ 5, Saša PIŠOT 5, Gianni BIOLO 6, Filippo G. DI GIROLAMO 6, Roberta SITULIN 6, Angelina PASSARO 3, Stefano LAZZER 1, 2

1 Department of Medicine, University of Udine, Udine, Italy; 2 School of Sport Sciences, University of Udine, Udine, Italy; 3 Department of Medical Science, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy; 4 Medical Department, University Hospital of Ferrara Arcispedale Sant'Anna, Ferrara, Italy; 5 Institute for Kinesiology Research, Science and Research Center of Koper, Koper, Slovenia; 6 Department of Medical Sciences, Surgical and Health Sciences, Clinica Medica AOUTS, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between physical activity habits, physical performance and cognitive capacity in older adults’ population of Italy and Slovenia.
METHODS: Anthropometric characteristics and body composition bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) were evaluated in 892 older adults (60-80 y). Aerobic capacity was measured using the 2km walking test and handgrip and flexibility tests were performed. Physical activity habits and cognitive functions were evaluated by the Global-Physical-Activity-Questionnaires (GPAQ) and by Montreal-Cognitive-Assessment (MoCA) questionnaires, respectively.
RESULTS: GPAQ scores were associated with lower BMI (r=-0.096; p=0.005), lower percentage of fat-mass (r=-0.138; p=0.001), better results in the 2km-walk test (r=-0.175; p=0.001) and a higher percentage of fat-free mass (r=0.138; p=0.001). We also evaluated that, a higher MoCA score correlates with age (r=-0.208; p=0.001), 2km-walk test (r=-0.166; p=0.001), waist-hip ratio (r=-0.200; p=0.001), resting heart-rate (r=-0.087; p=0.025) and heart-rate at the end of 2km-walk test (r=0.189; p=0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: Older adults with a higher level of daily physical activity showed reduction in fat mass and BMI, and higher aerobic fitness; these characteristics have a protection effect on cognitive function.

KEY WORDS: Aging; Physical activity; Mental function; Daily habits

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