Martial Art Training and Cognitive Performance in Middle-Aged Adults

Open access

Abstract

Cognitive performance includes the processes of attention, memory, processing speed, and executive functioning, which typically declines with aging. Previous research has demonstrated that aerobic and resistance exercise improves cognitive performance immediately following exercise. However, there is limited research examining the effect that a cognitively complex exercise such as martial art training has on these cognitive processes. Our study compared the acute effects of 2 types of martial art training to aerobic exercise on cognitive performance in middle-aged adults. We utilized a repeated measures design with the order of the 3 exercise conditions randomly assigned and counterbalanced. Ten recreational middle-aged martial artists (mean age = 53.5 ± 8.6 years) participated in 3 treatment conditions: a typical martial art class, an atypical martial art class, and a one-hour walk at a self-selected speed. Cognitive performance was assessed by the Stroop Color and Word test. While all 3 exercise conditions improved attention and processing speed, only the 2 martial art conditions improved the highest order of cognitive performance, executive function. The effect of the 2 martial art conditions on executive function was not different. The improvement in executive function may be due to the increased cortical demand required by the more complex, coordinated motor tasks of martial art exercise compared to the more repetitive actions of walking.

Alves CR, Gualano B, Takao PR, Avakian P, Fernandes RM, Morine D, Takito MY. Effects of acute physical exercise on executive functions: a comparison between aerobic and strength exercise. J Sport Exerc Psychol, 2012; 34: 539-549

Alves CR, Tessaro VH, Teixeira LA, Murakava K, Roschel H, Gualano B, Takito MY. Influence of acute high-intensity aerobic interval exercise bout on selective attention and short-term memory tasks. Percept Motor Skills, 2014; 11(1): 63-72

Barella LA, Etnier JL, Chang YK. The immediate and delayed effects of an acute bout of exercise on cognitive performance of healthy older adults. J Aging Phys Act, 2010; 18: 87-98

Bixby WR, Spalding TW, Haufler AJ, Deeny S, Mahlow PT, Zimmerman JB, Hatfield BD. The unique relation of physical activity to executive function in older men and women. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2007; 39(11): 1408-1416

Carey JR, Bhatt E, Nagpal A. Neuroplasticity promoted by task complexity. Exerc Sport Sci Rev, 2005; 33: 24-31

Chang Y, Nien Y, Tsai C, Eitner J. Physical activity and cognition in older adults: the potential of tai chi chuan. J Aging Phys Act, 2010; 18: 451-472

Cohn NB, Dustman RE, Bradford DC. Age-related decrements in stroop color test performance. J Clin Psychol, 1984; 40(5): 1244-1250

Douris P, Chinan A, Gomez M, Aw A, Steffens D, Weiss S. Fitness levels of middle aged martial art practitioners. Br J Sport Med, 2004; 38(2): 143-147

Douris PC, Elokda AS, Handrakis JP, Principal S, Rondo E, Bovell J, Coughlin WP, Mastroianni CN, Wong MJ, Zimmerman T. Martial art training enhances the glutathione antioxidant system in middle-aged adults. J Strength Cond Res, 2009; 23(5): 1518-1523

Douris PC, Ingenito T, Piccirillo B, Herbst M, Petrizzo J, Cherian V, McCutchan C, Burke C, Stamatinos G, Jung MK. Martial art training attenuates arterial stiffness in middle aged adults. Asian J Sport Med, 2013; 4(3): 201-207

Elst WV, Van Boxtel MP, Van Breukelen GJ, Jolles J. The stroop color-word test: influence of age, sex, and education; and normative data for a large sample across the adult age range. Assessment, 2006; 13(1): 62-79

Field T, Diego M, Hernandez-Rief M. Tai chi/yoga effects on anxiety, heartrate, EEG and math computations. Comp Ther Clin Prac, 2010; 16(4): 235-238

Gothe N, Pontifex MB, Hillman C, McAuley E. The acute effects of yoga on executive function. J Phys Act Health, 2013; 10(4): 488-495

Kashihara K, Maruyama T, Murota M, Nakahara Y. Positive effects of acute and moderate physical exercise on cognitive function. J Physiol Anthropol, 2009; 28(4): 155-164

Lyngeraa TS, Pedersen IM, Mantoni T, Belhage B, Rasmussen LS, van Lieshout JJ, Pott FC. Middle cerebral artery blood velocity during running. Scand J Med Sci Sport, 2013; 23(1): 32-37

Netz Y, Argov E, Inbar O. Fitness’s moderation of the facilitative effect of acute exercise on cognitive flexibility in older women. J Aging Phys Act, 2009; 17(2): 154-166

Netz Y, Tomer R, Axelrad S, Argov E, Inbar O. The effect of a single aerobic training session on cognitive flexibility in late middle-aged adults. Int J Sport Med, 2007; 28(2): 82-87

Pesce C. Shifting the focus from quantitative to qualitative exercise characteristics in exercise and cognitive research. J Sport Exerc Psychol, 2012; 34: 766-786

Portney LG, Watkins MP. Foundations of clinical research, applications to practice.3rd edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 206-208, 833; 2009

Tam ND. Improvement of processing speed in executive function immediately following an increase in cardiovascular activity. Cardiovasc Psychiatry Neuro. doi: 10.1155/2013/212767. Epub 2013 Sep 25

Tomporowski PD. Effects of acute bouts of exercise on cognition. Acta Psychol, 2003; 112(3): 297–324

Tybout A, Sternthal B, Keppel G, Analysis of variance. J Consum Psychol, 2001; 10(1-2): 5-35

Winstein CJ, Grafton ST, Pohl PS. Motor task difficulty and brain activity: investigation of goal-directed reciprocal aiming using positron emission tomography. J Neurophysiol, 1997; 77: 1581-1594

Yanagisawa H, Dan I, Tsuzuki D, Kato M, Okamoto M, Kyutoku Y, Soya H. Acute moderate exercise elicits increased dorsolateral prefrontal activation and improves cognitive performance with Stroop test. Neuroimage, 2010; 50(4): 1702-1710

Journal of Human Kinetics

The Journal of Academy of Physical Education in Katowice

Journal Information


IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 1.174
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 1.634

CiteScore 2017: 1.31

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.516
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.906

Cited By

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 344 344 15
PDF Downloads 100 100 2