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The effect of leisure activity golf practice on motor imagery: an fMRI study in middle adulthood


Bezzola, Ladina; Mérillat, Susan; Jäncke, Lutz (2012). The effect of leisure activity golf practice on motor imagery: an fMRI study in middle adulthood. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6:67.

Abstract

Much is known about practice-induced plasticity of the motor system. But it is not clear how a physical training influences the mental rehearsal of the practiced task and its associated hemodynamic responses. In the present longitudinal study with two measurement time-points, we used the method of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and a motor imagery task, in order to explore the dynamic neuro-functional changes induced by a highly complex physical training. The 11 golf novices between the age of 40 and 60 years practiced the motor training as leisure activity. Additionally, data from an age and sex-matched control group without golf training was collected. As a main result, we demonstrate that changes between the two measurement time-points were only found in the golf novice group. The golf novices showed a decrease in hemodynamic responses during the mental rehearsal of the golf swing in non-primary motor areas after the 40 h of golf practice. Thus, the results indicate that a complex physical leisure activity induces functional neuroplasticity in the seldom studied population of middle-aged adults, and that this effect is evident during mental rehearsal of the practiced task. This finding supports the idea that (a) a skill improvement is associated with a modified activation pattern in the associated neuronal network that can be identified during mental rehearsal of the practiced task, and that (b) a strict training protocol is not necessary to induce functional neuroplasticity.

Much is known about practice-induced plasticity of the motor system. But it is not clear how a physical training influences the mental rehearsal of the practiced task and its associated hemodynamic responses. In the present longitudinal study with two measurement time-points, we used the method of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and a motor imagery task, in order to explore the dynamic neuro-functional changes induced by a highly complex physical training. The 11 golf novices between the age of 40 and 60 years practiced the motor training as leisure activity. Additionally, data from an age and sex-matched control group without golf training was collected. As a main result, we demonstrate that changes between the two measurement time-points were only found in the golf novice group. The golf novices showed a decrease in hemodynamic responses during the mental rehearsal of the golf swing in non-primary motor areas after the 40 h of golf practice. Thus, the results indicate that a complex physical leisure activity induces functional neuroplasticity in the seldom studied population of middle-aged adults, and that this effect is evident during mental rehearsal of the practiced task. This finding supports the idea that (a) a skill improvement is associated with a modified activation pattern in the associated neuronal network that can be identified during mental rehearsal of the practiced task, and that (b) a strict training protocol is not necessary to induce functional neuroplasticity.

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9 citations in Web of Science®
12 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:2012
Deposited On:10 Apr 2012 12:43
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:46
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1662-5161
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2012.00067
Official URL:http://www.frontiersin.org/Human_Neuroscience/10.3389/fnhum.2012.00067/abstract
PubMed ID:22479243
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-61693

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