G-36 Free Communication/Poster - Physical Activity and Cognition in Youth and Young Adults Saturday, June 4, 2016, 7: 30 AM - 11: 00 AM Room: Exhibit Hall A/B
PURPOSE: The present study investigated the relationship between cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness with working memory and academic achievement in preadolescent children.
METHODS: Seventy-six 3th - 5th grade children (10.1 ± 0.6 year) completed a cardiorespiratory fitness assessment using a graded exercise test; a muscular fitness assessment consisting of upper body, lower body, and core exercises; a serial n-back task to assess working memory; and an academic achievement test of mathematics and reading.
RESULTS: Two-step hierarchical regression analyses revealed that after controlling for demographic variables (IQ, Sex, Grade) in step 1, muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness (entered in step 2) were significant (ΔR2 ≥ .102, F’s ≥ 2.394, p’s ≤ .017). Muscular fitness was associated with greater d’ (β = .032, t = 2.394, p = .019, pr = .32) and response accuracy (β = .559, t = 2.436, p = .017, pr = .32) in the 2-back but not the 1-back condition of the n-back task, suggesting a relationship between muscular fitness with tasks that place greater demand on working memory. Cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with increased mathematic performance in algebraic function (β = .009, t = 2.064, p = .043, pr = .28).
CONCLUSION: The current findings reveal a positive association between muscular fitness and working memory as well as cardiorespiratory fitness and mathematic performance, suggesting specificity in the relationship between each of the fitness domains with cognition and academic achievement. Importantly, these results implicate the importance of both cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness to cognitive health during preadolescence.