Midlife Moderate and Vigorous Physical Activity Impacts Cognitive Abilities

Loss of time spent in moderate and vigorous physical activity tied to lower cognition

MONDAY, Jan. 30, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Time spent in moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is positively associated with cognitive performance, according to a study published online Jan. 23 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

John J. Mitchell, from University College London, and colleagues assessed the associations of different components of daily movement and participants’ overall cognition, memory, and executive function. The analysis included data from 4,481 participants (median age, 47 years) with 24-hour accelerometer data collected for up to seven days.

The researchers found that compared with sedentary behavior, light-intensity physical activity, and sleep time, MVPA was positively associated with cognition when adjusting for education and occupational physical activity. However, with additional adjustment for health status, associations were attenuated. Compared with all other movements, sedentary behavior was robustly positively associated with cognition. Theoretically, there would be an increase in cognition centile if MVPA replaced nine minutes of sedentary behavior (odds ratio, 1.31; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.09 to 2.50), seven minutes of light-intensity physical activity (odds ratio, 1.27; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.07 to 2.46), or seven minutes of sleep (odds ratio, 1.20; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.01 to 2.39).

“MVPA is typically the smallest proportion of the day in real terms, and the most difficult intensity to acquire,” the authors write. “Perhaps partly for this reason, loss of any MVPA time whatsoever appeared detrimental, even within this relatively active cohort.”

Abstract/Full Text

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