Effects of aerobic versus cognitively demanding exercise interventions on brain structure and function in healthy children: Results from a cluster randomized controlled trial

Anna Meijer*, Marsh Königs, Petra J W Pouwels, Joanne Smith, Chris Visscher, Roel J Bosker, Esther Hartman, Jaap Oosterlaan

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

4 Citaten (Scopus)
76 Downloads (Pure)


The beneficial effects of physical activity on neurocognitive functioning in children are considered to be facilitated by physical activity-induced changes in brain structure and functioning. In this study, we examined the effects of two 14-week school-based exercise interventions in healthy children on white matter microstructure and brain activity in resting-state networks (RSNs) and whether changes in white matter microstructure and RSN activity mediate the effects of the exercise interventions on neurocognitive functioning. A total of 93 children were included in this study (51% girls, mean age 9.13 years). The exercise interventions consisted of four physical education lessons per week, focusing on either aerobic or cognitively demanding exercise and were compared with a control group that followed their regular physical education program of two lessons per week. White matter microstructure was assessed using diffusion tensor imaging in combination with tract-based spatial statistics. Independent component analysis was performed on resting-state data to identify RSNs. Furthermore, neurocognitive functioning (information processing and attention, working memory, motor response inhibition, interference control) was assessed by a set of computerized tasks. Results indicated no Group × Time effects on white matter microstructure or RSN activity, indicating no effects of the exercise interventions on these aspects of brain structure and function. Likewise, no Group × Time effects were found for neurocognitive performance. This study indicated that 14-week school-based interventions regarding neither aerobic exercise nor cognitive-demanding exercise interventions influence brain structure and brain function in healthy children. This study was registered in the Netherlands Trial Register (NTR5341).

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's23
Nummer van het tijdschrift8
Vroegere onlinedatum15-mrt.-2022
StatusPublished - aug.-2022

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