• Age Range: 20-68

  • Duration: 28 Weeks

  • Compensation: $500 and 5-month gym membership

This research study tests whether aerobic exercise or stretching and toning influence cognitive function and brain structure. First, we perform a phone screen to see if you meet our eligibility criteria. If you do, we invite you to come to our lab located at the Columbia University Medical Center campus to sign a consent form and complete a memory and attention task. We will also schedule you for a fitness test at this consent appointment.

During this fitness assessment you will be asked to perform an exercise stress test during which you pedal a stationary bike. If the results of this test indicate that you are eligible for our study, you will begin a two-week orientation phase at one of the five YMCA locations in Manhattan that is most convenient for you.

Upon completing the orientation phase, you will be scheduled for two appointments: an MRI scan and a cognitive testing session. After these appointments you will be randomly assigned to one of two groups.

Group 1: Aerobic Exercise group

In the exercise group, you will complete 24 weeks of aerobic exercise (4x/week, one hour at a time) at the YMCA Fitness Center.

Group 2: Stretching/Toning group

In the stretching/toning group, you will do targeted stretching and toning exercises for 24 weeks (4x/week, one hour at a time) at the YMCA Fitness Center.

After the first 12-weeks, you will return to complete a mid-study cognitive testing session and fitness test. After completion of the 24-weeks of exercise or stretching/toning, you will complete a final MRI scan, a cognitive test, a 24 ml blood draw, and a fitness test.

Six months after these final appointments you will return for a final cognitive test.


Click here to find out if you are eligible for this study!