Objective: The goal of the present meta-analysis was to address studies that examined the relationship between walking as one of the most prevalent types of leisure-time activity and executive function being a higher-order cognitive function essential for independent functioning. Methods: The following data sources were used: English-language publications in PubMed, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cinahl, and Cochrane; the last search took place in January 2012. From these data sources, only randomized controlled trials including older people with (N = 3) and without (N = 5) cognitive impairment were selected. Results: Walking has been shown to improve set-shifting and inhibition in sedentary older persons without cognitive impairment (d = 0.36; 95% confidence interval: 0.16-0.55; z = 3.56; p <0.0001). In older persons with cognitive impairment, walking did not show improvements in executive functioning (d = 0.14; 95% confidence interval:-0.36-0.64; z = 0.35; p = 0.56). Conclusion: This finding is clinically relevant because participation in a walking program may prevent or postpone a (further) decline in executive function in those who are sedentary. © 2014 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.
Scherder, E. J. A., Scherder, R. J., Verburgh, L., Konigs, M., Blom, M. M., Kramer, A., & Eggermont, L. H. P. (2014). Executive Functions of Sedentary Elderly May Benefit from Walking: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(8), 782-791. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2012.12.026