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Eintrag in der Universitätsbibliographie der TU Chemnitz

Volltext zugänglich unter
URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:ch1-qucosa2-364907

Hübner, Lena
Godde, Ben ; Taubert, Marco (Gutachter)

Fine motor performance and motor learning in older adults: Neurophysiological processes, effects of acute exercise, and association with physical fitness

Kurzfassung in englisch

Although fine motor performance declines with increasing age, older adults are able to improve their performance with motor practice. However, existing studies show mixed results regarding an effect of age on the amount of learning. Moreover, less is known about how age- and learning dependent behavioral changes are reflected on a neurophysiological level. Alpha and, especially, beta power assessed using electroencephalography (EEG) represent reliable markers of neurophysiological processes during motor task performance that need more attention in aging literature. Moreover, acute cardiovascular exercise has been shown to improve motor performance and trigger motor learning processes in young adults. However, this promising approach has not been considered in aging literature so far. Furthermore, the physical fitness level seems to be positively associated with motor performance and motor learning processes. But again, less is known about this association in healthy older adults. Both approaches might help to better understand or even counteract age-related changes in fine motor performance and motor learning.
To explore these research topics, two empirical studies were conducted within this dissertation project. In both studies, motor performance and motor learning were assessed on a behavioral level using a precision grip force modulation task. The force modulation task required participants to match a visually presented sinusoidal target force by applying isometric force with the thumb and index finger to a force plate. Processes on a neurophysiological level were measured with an EEG and analyzed with a main focus on (alpha and) beta power. Study 1 aimed to further characterize age-related differences in fine motor performance and motor learning on a behavioral and neurophysiological level. Furthermore, key influencing factors that determine fine motor performance and motor learning in older adults on a behavioral level were investigated. Hence, a sample of young adults and older adults performed a short-term motor learning session, conducted a cardiovascular fitness test, motor fitness tests, and strengths tests. Study 2 focused on the effects of a session of acute exercise on fine motor performance and motor learning in a sample of healthy older adults. Participants were assigned to an experimental group (performing a session of acute cardiovascular moderate intensity exercise on a stationary bicycle) or a control group (listening to an audiobook). Both groups performed a motor learning experiment over two consecutive days.
Young adults outperformed older adults in terms of performance variability, temporal precision, and force precision in the force modulation task. The lower behavioral performance was accompanied by higher beta activity in parietal and occipital areas. Although results were different with respect to the analyzed parameter, overall, the amount of motor learning in the force modulation task was not diminished in older adults compared to young adults. Beta power during motor performance was not affected by motor practice. However, beta power at rest increased from pre practice to post practice, especially in older adults. Fine motor performance of older adults was increased more directly after an acute cardiovascular exercise session than after rest. Moreover, frontal beta activity was higher directly after exercise, pointing to better cognitive resources to perform the task after exercise than after rest. Third, a high cardiovascular fitness level predicted a good fine motor performance in the force modulation task in older adults.
Findings of the current dissertation project enhance the understanding of age-related changes in fine motor performance and motor learning using a precision grip force modulation task. Furthermore, approaches are presented that counteract age-related changes, improve motor functions, and determine good levels of fine motor performance in healthy older adults.

Universität: Technische Universität Chemnitz
Institut: Professur Sozialwissenschaftliche Perspektiven von Sport, Bewegung und Gesundheitsförderung
Fakultät: Fakultät für Human- und Sozialwissenschaften
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Betreuer: Voelcker-Rehage, Claudia
SWD-Schlagwörter: Feinmotorik , Alter , Körperliche Aktivität
Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): Fine motor performance , motor learning , older adults , acute exercise , physical fitness
DDC-Sachgruppe: Sportarten, Sportspiele
Sprache: englisch
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung 04.12.2019



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