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A single bout of physical exercise does not affect young adults' executive functions

  • Autori: Gentile A.; Thomas E.; Feka K.; Di Vincenzo A.; Restifo M.; Amata V.; Alesi M.; Drid P.; Maksimovic N.; Bianco A.; Boca S.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2020
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • Parole Chiave: Cognition; Executive functioning; Exercise intensity; Exercise programme; Stress condition;
  • OA Link:


Study aim. The purpose of the current study is to determine the impact of single bouts of physical exercise of different duration and intensity on young adults' executive functions. Material and methods. The study employed 81 participants (37 females, 44 males) ranging between 19 and 39 years (mean age: 24.6 ± 4.08 years; mean height: 168 ± 9.67 cm; mean weight: 67.2 ± 13.0 kg). The executive functions were assessed through the Stroop task, the Tower of London test, and the Corsi block test. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the three experimental conditions (30-second Wingate test condition, an incremental intensity exercise test, and a submaximal constant-intensity test) or the control group. Results. For all the conditions, repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant effect of time on executive function performances, meaning that participants improved their performance between pre-test and post-test, while the interaction time x activity was in the expected direction but nonsignificant. Conclusions. Apparently, a single, brief, high-intensity bout of exercise has no effects on young adults' cognitive functions, but the same experiment should be replicated with a bigger sample.