Sedentary behaviors are increasing at the cost of millions of dollars spent in health care and productivity losses due to physical inactivity-related deaths worldwide. Understanding the mechanistic predictors of sedentary behaviors will improve future intervention development and precision medicine approaches. It has been posited that humans have an innate attraction towards effort minimization and that inhibitory control is required to overcome this prepotent disposition. Consequently, we hypothesized that individual differences in the functional connectivity of brain regions implicated in inhibitory control and physical effort decision making at the beginning of an exercise intervention in older adults would predict the change in time spent sedentary over the course of that intervention. In 143 healthy, low-active older adults participating in a 6-month aerobic exercise intervention (with three conditions: walking, dance, stretching), we aimed to use baseline neuroimaging (resting state functional connectivity of two a priori defined seed regions), and baseline accelerometer measures of time spent sedentary to predict future pre-post changes in objectively measured time spent sedentary in daily life over the 6-month intervention. Our results demonstrated that functional connectivity between (1) the anterior cingulate cortex and the supplementary motor area and (2) the right anterior insula and the left temporoparietal/temporooccipital junction, predicted changes in time spent sedentary in the walking group. Functional connectivity of these brain regions did not predict changes in time spent sedentary in the dance nor stretch and tone conditions, but baseline time spent sedentary was predictive in these conditions. Our results add important knowledge toward understanding mechanistic associations underlying complex out-of-session sedentary behaviors within a walking intervention setting in older adults.
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