A1 Journal article (refereed)
Bidirectional associations between cognitive functions and walking performance among middle-aged women (2022)

Tirkkonen, A., Kekäläinen, T., Aukee, P., Kujala, U. M., Laakkonen, E. K., Kokko, K., & Sipilä, S. (2022). Bidirectional associations between cognitive functions and walking performance among middle-aged women. Menopause: the Journal of the North American Menopause Society, 29(2), 200-209. https://doi.org/10.1097/gme.0000000000001896

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsTirkkonen, Anna; Kekäläinen, Tiia; Aukee, Pauliina; Kujala, Urho M.; Laakkonen, Eija K.; Kokko, Katja; Sipilä, Sarianna

Journal or seriesMenopause: the Journal of the North American Menopause Society



Publication year2022

Publication date20/12/2021


Issue number2

Pages range200-209

PublisherLippincott Williams & Wilkins

Publication countryUnited States

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79171


This study investigated whether (1) cognitive functions change after the transition from the perimenopausal to the postmenopausal stage, (2) cognitive functions and walking are associated in middle-aged women, and (3) cognitive functions assessed in perimenopause are associated with walking after reaching the postmenopause or vice versa.

In total, 342 women, categorized as early (n = 158) or late perimenopausal (n = 184), were included in the study and followed up until postmenopausal. Psychomotor speed, executive functions related to set-shifting and updating, working memory, and visual memory were assessed. Walking was assessed with walking speed, walking distance, and dual-task cost in walking speed. Data was analyzed using the paired-samples t test, Wilcoxon signed rank test, multiple linear regression analysis, and structural equation modeling.

We found small but significant improvements in psychomotor speed (P = 0.01) and working memory (P < 0.001) among early perimenopausal and in psychomotor speed (P = 0.001), set-shifting (P = 0.02), visual memory (P = 0.002), and working memory (P < 0.001) among late perimenopausal women after the transition from peri- to postmenopause. Walking speed (β = 0.264, P = 0.001) and dual-task cost (β = 0.160, P = 0.03) were associated with updating, and walking distance was associated with updating and set-shifting (β = 0.198, P = 0.02, β=−0.178 P = 0.04 respectively) among the late perimenopausal women. We found no longitudinal associations between cognitive functions and walking.

Cognitive performance remained unchanged or improved after reaching postmenopause. Cognitive functions and walking were associated during the late perimenopause, but the association depended on the cognitive process and nature of the physical task. Cognitive performance was not associated with walking after reaching postmenopause or vice versa.

Keywordswomenageingmiddle-aged personsmenopausephysical fitnesswalking (motion)cognitive skillsexecutive functions (psychology)

Free keywordsexecutive functions; menopause; physical functions

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 22:46