Introduction Exercise maintains or enhances physical fitness and overall health and wellness. The purpose of this study was to determine if cognitive ability could be improved with regular aerobic exercise.
Methods This experimental study was conducted among first year Physical Therapy students at UERMMMCI. Students who had low levels of physical activity or none at all based on a questionnaire, who passed a medical check-up and were willing to participate were included. Twelve students were assigned to the aerobic exercise group and 11 students to the control group. The exercise group underwent 30-minute sessions of tae bo three times a week for six weeks. Cognitive ability was measured before and after the six week study period in both groups using a Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices evaluation. The test scores were compared using paired and independent T-test.
Results Twelve students in the tae bo group and 11 in the control group completed the study. There was a significant increase in the mean Raven's scores in the tae bo group after the 18 sessions while a decrease was noted in the mean post-test scores of the control group. The mean Raven's scores were significantly higher in the tae bo group compared with those of the control group. The men in the tae bo group had higher scores than the women.
Conclusion Aerobic exercise was effective in increasing the cognitive ability of first year Physical Therapy students. Gender may be a factor in cognitive ability.