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  • Executive Function Improvement Training (eFIT) for Older Adults: Impact of an At-Home Physical Activity Program


Friday, March 24, 2023 | 1:00 - 2:30 pm | RCB 7100

Dr. Mauricio Garcia-Barrera

Title: Executive Function Improvement Taining (eFIT) for Older Adults: Impact of an At-Home Physical Activity Program


Research on physical activity has demonstrated it can serve as a protective factor against normative aging-related changes in cognition and mental health, and concern was raised during the recent COVID-19 pandemic about older adults’ reduced amount of physical activity engagement. In fact, there are reports that feelings of depression, social isolation, and stress have increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers and government officials recommend physical activity to minimize the negative psychological and physiological impacts of COVID-19. However, older adults have generally shown less moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and positive behavioural adaptations during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting a need for physical activity programs and strategies targeted for older adults. Filling this gap, and in collaboration with the Tall Tree Integrated Health Clinic, our eFIT study developed and implemented a remote exercise training program for a group of healthy, insufficiently active community-dwelling adults ages 65 years and older who were recruited from communities across Canada. We are now examining the data looking at the impact of our fully remote, at-home, and self managed 8-week physical activity program. This presentation includes discussion of our earliest line of analyses, and some conclusions, learnings, and lessons, about the feasibility of these type of remote studies.

About Dr. Garcia-Barrera:

Mauricio Garcia-Barrera, PhD (he/his) is a native of Medellin, Colombia. After completing his Bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of Antioquia, he relocated to Georgia (US), where he obtained his Master’s and PhD at the University of Georgia. He is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria (Canada), which he joined in 2008. At UVic, he created the Cortex Lab, a research lab specialized in the study of the neural and behavioural foundations of executive functioning. He serves as Associate Editor of the APA journal Psychological Assessment and served as the President of the Latin American Association of Neuropsychology between 2018 and 2021. His current research focuses on the study of both clinical events and environmental variables that may modify executive function across the lifespan, including physical activity and participation in sports, as well as sports-related concussions, among others. Dr. Garcia-Barrera is also a member of the Sports Neuropsychology Society, and has a research study investigating the effects of physical activity on cognitive performance and mood of older adults.