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The effect of medium term physical activity interventions on cognitive function and indices of cardiovascular health in overweight and obese adults

Weeks, Amy Victoria (2015) The effect of medium term physical activity interventions on cognitive function and indices of cardiovascular health in overweight and obese adults. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The cumulative effect of obesity with a sedentary/low-active lifestyle at mid-life places individuals at elevated risk for obesity-associated comorbidities and accelerated cognitive decline in later life. There is a paucity of research examining the relationship between physical activity (PA) and cognitive function in middle-aged obese adults, further confounded by a lack of objective measurement of PA. Study 1 (n=63) aimed to examine the relationship between objectively measured physical activity with multiple cognitive test outcomes in a sample of low-active, overweight/obese, middle-aged adults. The findings indicated that IQ and age were the greatest predictors of cognitive function, with small contribution from PA and body composition. Increased physical activity and/or cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) translates to improved cognitive function in non-obese adults, yet this has largely been unexplored in overweight/obese adults. It is not known what aspects of exercise (volume or intensity) yield optimal improvements, or the physiological adaptations that are required to translate to cognitive change. Study 2 (n=28) aimed to compare the impact of 12-weeks high-intensity exercise regimes (interval and continuous) on indices of cardiovascular fitness and cognitive function in middle-aged, overweight/obese females relative to a no-exercise control group. The findings suggest equivalent improvement in CRF between groups, and a favourable effect of training following INT for a limited number of cognitive outcomes (executive function and spatial memory). Study 3 (n=33) aimed to examine the impact of increasing habitual activity through pedometer “step-count” targets over 12-weeks on indices of cardiometabolic health and cognitive function. Findings indicate that post-intervention step count was associated favourably with indices of executive function, verbal and spatial memory. Taken together these studies found a limited number of exercise associated improvements, predominantly in executive function and spatial working memory.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: obesity, cognitive function, physical activity, exercise, cardiometabolic health, middle-aged adults
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Medicine and Health (Leeds) > Institute of Psychological Sciences (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.682253
Depositing User: Dr A V Weeks
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2016 11:53
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2016 15:45
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12193

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