Frontal EEG asymmetry: the effects of sustained walking in the elderly

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Numerous studies have been made in recent years addressing the effect of physical exercise on brain cortical activity and changes in mood. This research, however, was restricted to inadequate study designs in the elderly. In these times of an aging society, with the daily increasing interest in the benefits of physical exercise, investigations of the interrelationships of psycho-physiological elements of physical exercise seem to be progressively necessary. Using the model of frontal asymmetry, we hypothesized, that physical exercise by elderly persons at a self-selected pace increases left frontal alpha activity and is associated with a shift in mood to the positive. An electroencephalography (EEG) on two frontal positions (Fp1, Fp2) was made before and after walking at a self-selected pace for 45-60min and the state of the respective moods noted. The equation (right-left)/(right+left) was used to calculate frontal asymmetry as a marker of approach-related emotions. Key findings after walking were (1) a shift of the alpha-1 (7.5-10.0Hz) activation towards the right frontal brain areas as well as (2) an improvement in mood. Based on the frontal asymmetry model, an increase in the alpha-1 activation (p<0.05) might be associated with approach-related emotions. In conclusion, there is reason to believe that physical exercise programmes, as commonly practiced by the elderly, have beneficial effects on their general feeling of well-being. We were able to demonstrate this in this pilot study by applying only a comparatively simple and economically viable method.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroscience letters
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)134-137
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 19.11.2010

ID: 33884

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