Mid- and Late-Life Physical Activity and Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Dementia-Free Older Adults: Mayo Clinic Study of Aging

Janina Krell-Roesch, Jeremy A. Syrjanen, Jelena Bezold, Sandra Trautwein, Bettina Barisch-Fritz, Walter K. Kremers, Julie A. Fields, Eugene L. Scharf, David S. Knopman, Gorazd B. Stokin, Ronald C. Petersen, Darko Jekauc, Alexander Woll, Maria Vassilaki, Yonas E. Geda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: This study examined associations between physical activity (PA) and neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in older adults free of dementia. METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 3,222 individuals ≥70 years of age (1,655 men; mean±SD age=79.2±5.6; cognitively unimpaired, N=2,723; mild cognitive impairment, N=499) from the population-based Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. PA (taken as a presumed predictor) in midlife (i.e., when participants were 50-65 years of age) and late life (i.e., the year prior to assessment) was assessed with a self-reported, validated questionnaire; PA intensity and frequency were used to calculate composite scores. NPS (taken as presumed outcomes) were assessed with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). Regression analyses included midlife and late-life PA in each model, which were adjusted for age, sex, education, apolipoprotein E ɛ4 status, and medical comorbidity. RESULTS: Higher late-life PA was associated with lower odds of having apathy (OR=0.89, 95% CI=0.84-0.93), appetite changes (OR=0.92, 95% CI=0.87-0.98), nighttime disturbances (OR=0.95, 95% CI=0.91-0.99), depression (OR=0.94, 95% CI=0.90-0.97), irritability (OR=0.93, 95% CI=0.89-0.97), clinical depression (OR=0.92, 95% CI=0.88-0.97), and clinical anxiety (OR=0.90, 95% CI=0.86-0.94), as well as lower BDI-II (β estimate=-0.042, 95% CI=-0.051 to -0.033) and BAI (β estimate=-0.030, 95% CI=-0.040 to -0.021) scores. Higher midlife PA was associated only with higher BDI-II scores (β estimate=0.011, 95% CI=0.004 to 0.019). Sex modified the associations between PA and NPS. CONCLUSIONS: Late-life PA was associated with a lower likelihood of clinical depression or anxiety and subclinical NPS. These findings need to be confirmed in a cohort study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Geriatric Neuropsychiatry
  • Lifestyle
  • Neuropsychiatric Symptoms
  • Physical Activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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