One-year aerobic exercise increases cerebral blood flow in cognitively normal older adults

Tsubasa Tomoto, Aryan Verma, Kayla Kostroske, Takashi Tarumi Ph.D., Neena R. Patel, Evan P. Pasha, Jonathan Riley, Cynthia D. Tinajero, Linda S. Hynan, Karen M. Rodrigue, Kristen M. Kennedy, Denise C. Park, Rong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The impact of aerobic exercise training (AET) on cerebral blood flow (CBF) regulation remains inconclusive. This study investigated the effects of one-year progressive, moderate-to-vigorous AET on CBF, central arterial stiffness, and cognitive performance in cognitively normal older adults. Seventy-three older adults were randomly assigned to AET or stretching-and-toning (SAT, active control) intervention. CBF was measured with 2D duplex ultrasonography. Central arterial stiffness, measured by carotid β-stiffness index, was assessed with the ultrasonography and applanation tonometry. Cerebrovascular resistance (CVR) was calculated as mean arterial pressure divided by CBF. A cognitive battery was administered with a focus on memory and executive function. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured by peak oxygen consumption ((Formula presented.) O2peak). One-year AET increased (Formula presented.) O2peak and CBF and decreased CVR and carotid β-stiffness index. In the AET group, improved (Formula presented.) O2peak was correlated with increased CBF (r = 0.621, p = 0.001) and decreased CVR (r = −0.412, p = 0.037) and carotid β-stiffness index (r = −0.478, p = 0.011). Further, increased Woodcock-Johnson recall score was associated with decreased CVR (r = −0.483, p = 0.012) and carotid β-stiffness index (r = −0.498, p = 0.008) in AET group (not in SAT group). In conclusion, one-year progressive, moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise training increased CBF and decreased carotid arterial stiffness and CVR which were associated with improved memory function in cognitively normal older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • central arterial stiffness
  • cerebral blood flow
  • Exercise training
  • neurocognitive function
  • older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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