Multi-Tasking may Actually Improve Cognitive Performance in Older Adults

by Bidita Debnath on  June 4, 2015 at 12:07 AM Research News   - G J E 4
Those who say you cannot do two things at once and do them both well may actually be wrong, says a new study that recorded benefits of multi-tasking on exercise.
Multi-Tasking may Actually Improve Cognitive Performance in Older Adults
Multi-Tasking may Actually Improve Cognitive Performance in Older Adults

In the study of older adults, who completed cognitive tasks while cycling on a stationary bike, the researchers found that participants' cycling speed improved while multi-tasking with no cost to their cognitive performance.

The surprising discovery challenges the prevalent notion that multi-tasking causes one or both activities to suffer.

"Every dual-task study that, I'm aware of shows when people are doing two things at once they get worse," said Lori Altmann, associate professor of speech, language and hearing sciences at University of Florida in the US.

"Everybody has experienced walking somewhere in a hurry when the person in front of them pulls out a phone and that person just slows to a crawl. Frankly, that is what we were expecting," Altmann said.

During the study, 28 participants with Parkinson's disease and 20 healthy older adults completed 12 cognitive tasks while sitting in a quiet room and again while cycling.

Tasks ranged in difficulty from saying the word 'go' when a blue star was shown on a projection screen to repeating increasingly long lists of numbers in reverse order of presentation.

Participants' cycling speed was about 25 percent faster while doing the easiest cognitive tasks but became slower as the cognitive tasks became more difficult.

Yet, the hardest tasks only brought participants back to the speeds at which they were cycling before beginning the cognitive tasks.

The findings suggest that combining the easier cognitive tasks with physical activity may be a way to get people to exercise more vigorously.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Source: IANS

Post your Comments

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.
User Avatar
* Your comment can be maximum of 2500 characters
Notify me when reply is posted I agree to the terms and conditions

You May Also Like