The Effects of Physical Exercise With Music on Cognitive Function of Elderly People: Mihama-kiho Project


PLoS One




BACKGROUND: Physical exercise has positive effects on cognitive function in elderly people. It is unknown, however, if combinations of non-pharmaceutical interventions can produce more benefits than single ones. This study aimed to identify if physical exercise combined with music improves cognitive function in normal elderly people more than exercise alone. METHODS: We enrolled 119 subjects (age 65-84 years old). Forty subjects performed physical exercise (once a week for an hour with professional trainers) with musical accompaniment (ExM group), developed by YAMAHA Music Foundation; 40 subjects performed the same exercise without music (Ex group); 39 subjects were the control group (Cont group). Before and after the year-long intervention, each patient was assessed by neuropsychological batteries. MRIs were performed before and after intervention; the Voxel-based Specific Regional analysis system for Alzheimer's Disease (VSRAD) was used to assess medial temporal lobe atrophy. RESULTS: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was significant only in visuospatial function. The multiple comparison (ExM vs. Ex, ExM vs. Cont, Ex vs. Cont) was significant between the ExM and Cont group. Intra-group analyses before and after intervention revealed significant improvement in visuospatial function in the ExM group, and significant improvements in other batteries in all three groups. The VSRAD score significantly worsened in the ExM and Ex groups. CONCLUSIONS: Physical exercise combined with music produced more positive effects on cognitive function in elderly people than exercise alone. We attributed this improvement to the multifaceted nature of combining physical exercise with music, which can act simultaneously as both cognitive and physical training. TRIAL REGISTRATION: UMIN Clinical Trials Registry (UMIN-CTR) UMIN000012148.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Alzheimer's and Related Dementias; Cognitive Abilities; Elderly; Music and Exercise; Physical Exercise; Neurodegenerative Disorders

Indexed Terms

Elderly; Elderly; Alzheimer Disease; Cognition; Exercise; Temporal Lobe; Walking

Study Type

Quasi-Experimental Study; Quantitative Methods

PubMed ID


Document Type