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      Thinking While Moving or Moving While Thinking – Concepts of Motor-Cognitive Training for Cognitive Performance Enhancement

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          The demographic change in industrial countries, with increasingly sedentary lifestyles, has a negative impact on mental health. Normal and pathological aging leads to cognitive deficits. This development poses major challenges on national health systems. Therefore, it is necessary to develop efficient cognitive enhancement strategies. The combination of regular physical exercise with cognitive stimulation seems especially suited to increase an individual’s cognitive reserve, i.e., his/her resistance to degenerative processes of the brain. Here, we outline insufficiently explored fields in exercise-cognition research and provide a classification approach for different motor-cognitive training regimens. We suggest to classify motor-cognitive training in two categories, (I) sequential motor-cognitive training (the motor and cognitive training are conducted time separated) and (II) simultaneous motor-cognitive training (motor and cognitive training are conducted sequentially). In addition, simultaneous motor-cognitive training may be distinguished based on the specific characteristics of the cognitive task. If successfully solving the cognitive task is not a relevant prerequisite to complete the motor-cognitive task, we would consider this type of training as (IIa) motor-cognitive training with additional cognitive task. In contrast, in ecologically more valid (IIb) motor cognitive training with incorporated cognitive task, the cognitive tasks are a relevant prerequisite to solve the motor-cognitive task. We speculate that incorporating cognitive tasks into motor tasks, rather than separate training of mental and physical functions, is the most promising approach to efficiently enhance cognitive reserve. Further research investigating the influence of motor(-cognitive) exercises with different quantitative and qualitative characteristics on cognitive performance is urgently needed.

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          The effects of acute exercise on cognitive performance: a meta-analysis.

          There is a substantial body of literature related to the effects of a single session of exercise on cognitive performance. The premise underlying this research is that physiological changes in response to exercise have implications for cognitive function. This literature has been reviewed both narratively and meta-analytically and, although the research findings are mixed, researchers have generally concluded that there is a small positive effect. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to provide an updated comprehensive analysis of the extant literature on acute exercise and cognitive performance and to explore the effects of moderators that have implications for mechanisms of the effects. Searches of electronic databases and examinations of reference lists from relevant studies resulted in 79 studies meeting inclusion criteria. Consistent with past findings, analyses indicated that the overall effect was positive and small (g=0.097 n=1034). Positive and small effects were also found in all three acute exercise paradigms: during exercise (g=0.101; 95% confidence interval [CI]; 0.041-0.160), immediately following exercise (g=0.108; 95% CI; 0.069-0.147), and after a delay (g=0.103; 95% CI; 0.035-0.170). Examination of potential moderators indicated that exercise duration, exercise intensity, type of cognitive performance assessed, and participant fitness were significant moderators. In conclusion, the effects of acute exercise on cognitive performance are generally small; however, larger effects are possible for particular cognitive outcomes and when specific exercise parameters are used. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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            Cognitive Load Theory and Instructional Design: Recent Developments

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              Structure-stability-function relationships of dendritic spines.

              Dendritic spines, which receive most of the excitatory synaptic input in the cerebral cortex, are heterogeneous with regard to their structure, stability and function. Spines with large heads are stable, express large numbers of AMPA-type glutamate receptors, and contribute to strong synaptic connections. By contrast, spines with small heads are motile and unstable and contribute to weak or silent synaptic connections. Their structure-stability-function relationships suggest that large and small spines are "memory spines" and "learning spines", respectively. Given that turnover of glutamate receptors is rapid, spine structure and the underlying organization of the actin cytoskeleton are likely to be major determinants of fast synaptic transmission and, therefore, are likely to provide a physical basis for memory in cortical neuronal networks. Characterization of supramolecular complexes responsible for synaptic memory and learning is key to the understanding of brain function and disease.

                Author and article information

                Front Aging Neurosci
                Front Aging Neurosci
                Front. Aging Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                06 August 2018
                : 10
                1Research Group Neuroprotection, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) , Magdeburg, Germany
                2Department of Sport Science, Institute III, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg , Magdeburg, Germany
                3Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences (CBBS) , Magdeburg, Germany
                4Department of Neurology, Medical Faculty, Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg , Magdeburg, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Ashok Kumar, University of Florida, United States

                Reviewed by: Martin Gorges, Universität Ulm, Germany; Cartik Sharma, University of Toronto, Canada

                *Correspondence: Fabian Herold, fabian.herold@
                Copyright © 2018 Herold, Hamacher, Schega and Müller.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 168, Pages: 11, Words: 0


                cognitive enhancement, dual task, dementia, cognition, exercise


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