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The Effect of Group-Based Exercise on Cognitive Performance and Mood in Seniors Residing in Intermediate Care and Self-Care Retirement Facilities: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  1. Anne K Brown (anne.brown{at}
  1. Westmead Hospital, Australia
    1. Teresa Liu-Ambrose (dtambrose{at}
    1. University of British Columbia, Canada
      1. Robyn Tate (rtate{at}
      1. University of Sydney, Australia
        1. Stephen Lord (s.lord{at}
        1. Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute, Australia


          Objective: To determine the effect of a general group-based exercise program on cognitive performance and mood among seniors without dementia living in retirement villages.

          Design: Randomized controlled trial.

          Setting: Four intermediate care and four self-care retirement village sites in Sydney, Australia.

          Participants: Nineteen senior men and 135 senior women who were residents of intermediate care and self-care retirement facilities.

          Intervention: Participants were randomized to one of the following experimental groups: 1) a general group-based exercise (GE) program composed of resistance training and balance training exercises; 2) a flexibility exercise and relaxation technique (FR) program; or 3) no-exercise control (NEC). The intervention groups (GE and FR) participated in one-hour exercise classes twice a week for a total period of six months.

          Main Outcome Measures: Using standard neuropsychological tests, we assessed cognitive performance at baseline and at six-month retest in the following domains: 1) fluid intelligence; 2) visual, verbal, and working memory; and 3) executive functioning. We also assessed mood by the Geriatric Depression Scale and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule.

          Results: The GE program significantly improved cognitive performance of fluid intelligence compared with FR or NEC. Also, there were significant improvements in the PANAS-P scale within both the GE and FR groups and an indication that the two exercise programs reduced depression in those with initial high Geriatric Depression Scale scores.

          Conclusions: Our GE program significantly improved cognitive performance of fluid intelligence in seniors residing in retirement villages compared with our FR program and the NEC group. Furthermore, both group-based exercise programs provided benefits for certain aspects of mood within the six-month intervention period.

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