Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education


Current research supports that regular participation in exercise not only benefits physical fitness parameters, but also that there are multiple beneficial effects on cognition and brain health. Few studies have been conducted on adults and many lack the specifics of the exercise prescription needed in order to elicit improvements in cognition. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the different dimensions of physical fitness and cognitive improvements. Thirty-seven adults enrolled at a northwest community college were recruited for this study. Participants were divided amongst three exercise treatment groups: cardiovascular training (CVT), strength training (ST), and mixed method training (MMT) and a control group (C) for the duration of the eight-week study. A comprehensive physical fitness evaluation was performed at the beginning and at the end of the eight week training session. In addition, a cognitive evaluation of participants' mental fitness was also administered at the beginning of the study and at the end of the eight week training session, utilizing five assessments: 1) response speed and impulse control 2) divided visual attention 3) mathematical word equations 4) memory span and 5) grammatical reasoning. The results of this study indicated that cardiorespiratory exercise training and mixed method circuit training were highly influential on some aspects of cognition (memory span and problem solving ability) as evidenced by statistically significant (p < 0.1) changes in cognitive measures after eight-weeks. Cardiovascular training also offered an additional benefit in the area of divided visual attention response time. Both the cardiovascular training and mixed method training groups showed common statistically significant improvements in body composition and muscular endurance, while only the mixed method training group experienced statistically significant improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular strength. An additional interesting finding is that the

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