The Effect of Lifetime Physical Activity on Working Memory in Older Adults

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Gray, Marissa
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between lifetime physical activity levels and working memory ability into older adulthood. This study was conducted through a survey, in which 22 older adult participants reported how often they performed physical activity during 5 stages of life: currently, before the Covid-19 pandemic, at age 50, at age 30, and during the teenage years. Participants completed a working memory ability assessment rating how often they make common memory mistakes. Lifetime physical activity levels were significantly related to working memory scores after accounting for social interaction time with family (beta = .001, p = .034). Lifetime physical activity, combined with social interaction time with family, significantly predicts working memory ability into later life. Therefore, participation in regular physical activity throughout life should be encouraged for all ages to improve working memory ability into older age.