A1 Journal article (refereed)
Physical activity, aerobic fitness, and brain white matter : Their role for executive functions in adolescence (2020)

Ruotsalainen, I., Gorbach, T., Perkola, J., Renvall, V., Syväoja, H. J., Tammelin, T. H., Karvanen, J., & Parviainen, T. (2020). Physical activity, aerobic fitness, and brain white matter : Their role for executive functions in adolescence. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 42, Article 100765. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2020.100765

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Ruotsalainen, Ilona; Gorbach, Tetiana; Perkola, Jaana; Renvall, Ville; Syväoja, Heidi J.; Tammelin, Tuija H.; Karvanen, Juha; Parviainen, Tiina

Journal or series: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

ISSN: 1878-9293

eISSN: 1878-9307

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 42

Article number: 100765

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2020.100765

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/67948


Physical activity and exercise beneficially link to brain properties and cognitive functions in older adults, but the findings concerning adolescents remain tentative. During adolescence, the brain undergoes significant changes, which are especially pronounced in white matter. Studies provide contradictory evidence regarding the influence of physical activity or aerobic-exercise on executive functions in youth. Little is also known about the link between both fitness and physical activity with the brain’s white matter during puberty. We investigated the connection between aerobic fitness and physical activity with the white matter in 59 adolescents. We further determined whether white matter interacts with the connection of fitness or physical activity with core executive functions. Our results show that only the level of aerobic fitness, but not of physical activity relates to white matter. Furthermore, the white matter of the corpus callosum and the right superior corona radiata moderates the links of aerobic fitness and physical activity with working memory. Our results suggest that aerobic fitness and physical activity have an unequal contribution to the white matter properties in adolescents. We propose that the differences in white matter properties could underlie the variations in the relationship between either physical activity or aerobic fitness with working memory.

Keywords: physical activeness; physical fitness; brain; white matter; diffusion tensor imaging; executive functions (psychology); young people; puberty

Free keywords: diffusion tensor imaging; executive functions; fitness; fractional anisotropy; physical activity; white matter

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 21:37