This study aimed to investigate the effects of a long-term resistance exercise intervention on executive functions in healthy elderly males, and to further understand the potential neurophysiological mechanisms mediating the changes. The study assessed forty-eight healthy elderly males randomly assigned to exercise (n = 24) or control (n = 24) groups. The assessment included neuropsychological and neuroelectric measures during a variant of the oddball task paradigm, as well as growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor-(IGF-1), and homocysteine levels at baseline and after either a 12 month intervention of resistance exercise training or control period. The results showed that the control group had a significantly lower accuracy rate and smaller P3a and P3b amplitudes in the oddball condition after 12 months. The exercise group exhibited improved reaction times (RTs), sustained P3a and P3b amplitudes, increased levels of serum IGF-1, and decreased levels of serum homocysteine. The changes in IGF-1 levels were significantly correlated with the changes in RT and P3b amplitude of the oddball condition in the exercise group. In conclusion, significantly enhanced serum IGF-1 levels after 12 months of resistance exercise were inversely correlated with neurocognitive decline in the elderly. These findings suggest that regular resistance exercise might be a promising strategy to attenuate the trajectory of cognitive aging in healthy elderly individuals, possibly mediated by IGF-1.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience