Trajectory of physical activity is mirrored in changes in cognitive performance in older adults

Physical activity and cognitive performance are strongly linked and have been shown to decline with ageing. Many previous studies have demonstrated that a higher level of physical activity is associated with better cognitive performance in old age, however, only few studies examined the evolution of these parameters over time. We used a method called growth mixture modelling to identify trajectories of physical activity over time in older adults.

We found only two distinct physical activity trajectories: constantly high physical activity (71% of the sample) and decreasing physical activity (29% of the sample). Compared with the constantly high physical activity profile, the decreasing physical activity trajectory was significantly associated with lower baseline levels of cognitive performance, and with a significantly steeper decline of cognitive performance over time. These associations were only slightly attenuated after adjustment for sociodemographic and health-related characteristics. These findings suggest that the decline in cognition over time is mirrored in the longitudinal changes of physical activity.  

Link to the paper here.

Created: 28. 12. 2021 / Modified: 28. 12. 2021 / Responsible person: MUDr. Pavla Čermáková, Ph.D.