Honors College Theses




Exercise Science (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Nicholas Siekirk


Physical activity has been shown to offset age-related decline in cognition and mobility. Purpose: to examine the effect of a 4-week intervention on cognitive function after Treadmill (TM) (P2) and NuStep Cross Trainer (NCT) (P1) intervention (2x/week; n = 8 bouts) utilizing a Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) guided backwards exercise protocol. Methods: Each session consisted of dynamic mobility drills and the assigned exercise mode (time progressed to tolerance). Mobility, gait, and cognitive functions were accessed pre-intervention and post-intervention. Results: P1 had no change in congruent trail but increased number of correct for incongruent trial (P1= +9). P1 Reaction Time (RT) decreased with congruent trial and increased with incongruent trial (congruent= -98 ms; incongruent= +438 ms). P2 decreased number of correct for congruent and incongruent (congruent= -1, incongruent= -1). P2 RT increased for congruent and incongruent trials (congruent= +177ms; incongruent= +32ms). Both participants improved the distance of the 6MWT (P1: +10.8m; pre = 392.6m vs. post = 403.4m; P2: +14m; pre = 439.4m; post = 453.4m). Neither participant saw changes in TUG (P1: +0.03sec; pre = 10.40sec vs. post = 10.43sec; P2: +0.33sec; pre = 9.11sec vs. post = 9.44. Global outcomes for the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) showed improvement from pre to post in P1 (pre = 10 vs. post = 6) and P2 (pre = 3 vs. post = 1). P1 improved both their forward walking and backward walking velocity (P1-FW: +14.75 cm/sec; BW: +22.50 cm/sec) and P2 improved FW velocity (P2-FW: +4.95 cm/sec).