<p>Cognitive functioning enhancement in older adults: is there an advantage of multicomponent training over Nordic walking?</p>

  • Temprado Jean-Jacques
  • Julien-Vintrou Marine
  • Loddo Elisa
  • Laurin Jérôme
  • Sleimen-Malkoun Rita

  • Aerobic training
  • Cognition
  • Motor fitness
  • Nordic walking
  • Multicomponent training
  • Aging


Introduction: We compared Nordic walking training (NW) to a multicomponent training (MCT) program of an equivalent intensity, in older adults. Our main hypothesis was that MCT would result in larger effects on cognitive processes than NW. Methods: Thirty-nine healthy older adults, divided into two groups (NW and MCT), took part in the study (17 males, 22 females, mean age =70.8±0.8 years). They were tested for cardiovascular fitness, motor fitness and cognitive performance during the two weeks preceding and following the 12-week training session (3 times/week), respectively. For both the NW and MCT interventions, the training sessions were supervised by a trainer. Heart rate of participants was monitored during the sessions and then used to make training loads as similar as possible between the two groups (TRaining IMPulse method). Results: Results showed that training resulted in better performance for cardiovascular and motor fitness tests. Among these tests, only two revealed a significant difference between the two groups. The NW group progressed more than the MCT group in the 30 Seconds Chair Stand test, while in the One Leg Stance test, the MCT group progressed more. For the cognitive assessment, a significant effect of training was found for executive functions, spatial memory score, and information processing speed response time, with no differences between the two groups. Conclusion: The study confirmed that physical exercise has a positive impact on cognitive processes with no advantage of MCT intervention over NW training. A possible reason is that NW intervention not only improved cardiovascular capacities, but also motor fitness, including coordination capacities.