Blood markers will be analysed to examine if they moderate the observed effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive outcomes. We hypothesize aerobic exercise will promote more favourable changes in the blood biomarkers than stretching-toning exercise, and changes in blood biomarkers in the aerobic exercise group will be associated with cognition enhancement. Sex steroid hormone status (estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, and sex hormone-binding globulin), lipids (cholesterol, high- and low-density lipoprotein, and triglycerides), thyroid (thyroid-stimulating hormone), renal (creatinine), hepatic (alanine aminotransferase and bilirubin), and cardiovascular disease markers (hsCRP) will be measured. Complete blood count will be quantified immediately after blood collection, while other markers will be assessed in batches after blood samples are centrifuged and frozen at −80 °C. Details of the blood volumes required and assays to be used (including reliability, validity, and coefficients of variation) are included in Table Table44.

Details of the blood volume required, assays to be used, intra-assay variability, and measuring range

Notes: All analyses will be carried out at Calgary Laboratory Services. At baseline (0 month), 27–30 mL of blood will be required for measurements of hormones, lipids, and screening markers of thyroid, kidney, hepatic function, and hsCRP (3 × 5 mL gold (SST tubes) + 3 × 4 mL lavender (EDTA tubes)). At the other time points (6 and 18 months), only 18–20 mL of blood will be required for measurements of hormones, lipid profiles, and hsCRP (2 × 5 mL gold (SST tubes) + 2 × 4 mL lavender (EDTA tubes))

Abbreviations: PST, plasma separator tube; SST, serum separator tube; EDTA, ethylenediaminetetra acetic acid in a tripotassium or disodium base; CV%, coefficient of variation; SHBG, sex hormone binding globulin; LDL, low-density lipoprotein; HDL, high-density lipoprotein; TG, triglycerides; TSH, thyroid-stimulating hormone; CBC, complete blood count; ALT, alanine aminotransferase; CVD, cardiovascular disease; hsCRP, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein

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