Physical activity and executive control: Implications for increased cognitive health during older adulthood

Charles H. Hillman, Artem V. Belopolsky, Erin M. Snook, Arthur F. Kramer, Edward McAuley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Electrocortical and behavioral responses of low, moderate, and high physically active older adults where compared with a younger control group on neutral and incompatible conditions of a flankers task. Compared to younger adults, high and moderate active older adults exhibited increased event-related potentials component P3 amplitude for the incompatible condition at the frontal electrode site. For the neutral condition, only low active older adults exhibited decreased amplitude at the central-parietal site, compared to younger adults. P3 latency revealed the longest latencies for low active older adults, followed by moderate active, high active, and younger adults, respectively. Reaction time (RT) data revealed that younger adults exhibited faster RT compared to all three older groups. Results suggest that physical activity may improve executive control function in older adults by affecting the distribution of P3 amplitude, which has been related to memory and attentional processes, and by decreasing P3 latency, which relates to the speed of cognitive processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-185
Number of pages10
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004


  • Aging
  • Cognitive function
  • Event-related potentials
  • P3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nephrology


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