For this study, researchers wanted to look at the immediate effects of aerobic exercise on cognition in older, healthy adults, namely looking at three aerobic exercises that demand cognitive focus: walking, nordic walking, and golf.
The study included 25 healthy golfers aged 65 and up, who participated in the three different exercises. They played 18 holes of golf, took six-kilometer Nordic walks (a type of walking that incorporates poles to work the arms), and did six-kilometers of regular walking. They were in natural environments and could move at their typical pace.
Different measures of cognitive function were assessed, such as attention, processing speed, and task-switching ability, as well as blood samples to look at the brain-benefits of the exercises. Fitness monitors were also worn to look at factors like pace, distance, energy expenditure, steps, etc.
And based on the findings, it seems these three exercises are great options for adults who want to stay active and keep their minds sharp. Not only did just one session of any of these three exercises improve cognitive function, but Nordic and regular walking also both showed enhanced executive functions effects.