The Impact Of An Intensive Physical Exercise Program (IPE) On Mental Processing Speed And Postural Control In Older Adults
Biggan, John R.
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One in three Americans over the age of 65 fall each year. In 2000, this equated to an annual cost of $19 billion in healthcare costs and this cost is expected to rise to $54 billion by 2020. One factor related to the increased risk of falls is a slowing mental processing speed. Mental processing speed is the speed at which a person is able to successfully process and respond to stimuli. As people age, they are not able to process information as quickly as younger adults. A positive correlation between physical speed and mental processing speed has been found such that those who physically move more quickly also tend to process mental information more quickly and are less likely to fall. However, the cause/effect relationship is not well established. This relationship was investigated in the current experiment by comparing the change in processing speed with the change in postural control (as measured by computerized dynamic posturography) during an 11-week Intensive Physical Exercise Program (IPE). Participants significantly increased their postural control across four time points (pretreatment, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks) and processing speed also increased across the time points, as measured by a Letter Comparison (LC) task. However, the change in processing speed across the time points was not a significant predictor of the change in postural control.