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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The acute effects of single versus multiple set resistance exercise on cognition and affect in untrained older adult women Marcotte, Lauren


PURPOSE: Current evidence suggests chronic resistance exercise training (RET) improves older adults’ executive function; however, the effects of a single session of resistance exercise (RE) and dose (i.e., frequency, intensity, volume) on executive performance remains unclear. Thus, we investigated the effect of RE, at three different volumes, on executive function in healthy older women. METHODS: This was a within-subjects, crossover study design of 21 untrained, older women (65-75 years). At baseline, participants were familiarized with four RE machines (leg press, chest press, knee-extension and lat pull down) and performed a 10RM. Following a minimum of 7 days, participants randomly completed 3 RE conditions: 1, 3, or 5 sets of 10 repetitions (70%1RM; 120 sec rest between sets) for each exercise, and a control (CON) condition. We measured two executive processes: 1) inhibitory control using the Flanker task, and 2) cognitive flexibility using the Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS) task. We also measured the affective response to RE using the Feelings Scale. Using a linear mixed model, we determined the effect of different RE volumes (i.e., condition) and time (i.e., visit number), adjusting for baseline performance, on change in inhibitory control (i.e., after RE – before RE) and cognitive flexibility. We also examined the effect of both RE volume and time on change in affect (i.e., after RE – before RE) using a linear mixed model. RESULTS: At baseline, participants were physically healthy and did not have cognitive impairment (Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores > 26/30). There were no significant differences found for acute changes in flanker performance by condition performed (i.e., 1, 3, 5, or CON) (p=0.12) and by time (i.e., visit number) (p=0.84). Similarly, there was no effect of condition on acute changes in DCCS performance (p=0.66) or time (p=0.57). Change in affect was not significantly different by both condition (p=0.56) and time (p=0.09). CONCLUSION: Contrary to evidence showing RE can promote executive performance, our results suggest a single bout of RE did not improve executive function in healthy older women, irrespective of volume.

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