Effects of interval walking training compared to normal walking training on cognitive function and arterial function in older adults: a randomized controlled trial

  • Takanobu OkamotoEmail author
  • Yuto Hashimoto
  • Ryota Kobayashi
Original Article



This study investigated whether interval walking training (IWT) improves cognitive function and arterial function in older adults.


A total of 68 older adults registered in clinical trials (mean age ± standard deviation, 70 ± 4 years) were randomly assigned to two groups: one group performed IWT (n = 34), and the other performed normal walking training (NWT, n = 34). Participants in the IWT group performed five or more sets of low-intensity walking (duration: 3 min per set; peak aerobic capacity for walking: 40%) followed by high-intensity walking (duration: 3 min per set; peak aerobic capacity for walking: > 70%). The NWT group walked at approximately 50% of the peak aerobic capacity for walking. The IWT and NWT were performed for 20 weeks. Trail making test-A and B and carotid–femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV) were measured in both groups at baseline and again at the end of the 20-week study period.


Compared to baseline, time for trail making test-A (IWT group: P = 0.00004, NWT group: P = 0.000006) and B (IWT group: P = 0.03, NWT group: P = 0.003) as well as cfPWV (IWT group: P = 0.000002, NWT group: P = 0.03) decreased significantly after the 20-week study period in both groups. However, cfPWV in the IWT group decreased significantly more than that in the NWT group (P = 0.03).


These results suggested that although both IWT and NWT were similarly effective at improving cognitive function, IWT reduced central arterial stiffness more than NWT.


Exercise intervention Pulse wave velocity Trail making test Atherosclerosis Dementia 



The authors would like to thank Mr. Shou Yoshida, Mr. Yuto Watanabe and Mr. Hiroyuki Hatakeyama for technical assistance with the experiments.


This work was supported by the Meiji Yasuda Life Foundation of Health and Welfare.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.

Statement of human and animal rights

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Nippon Sport Science University.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Exercise PhysiologyNippon Sport Science UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Center for Fundamental EducationTeikyo University of ScienceTokyoJapan

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