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The purpose of this study was to assess the acute effects of posture (upright vs recumbent) during moderate-intensity cycle exercise on executive function and prefrontal cortex oxygenation in young healthy adults.
Seventeen physically active men (24.6 ± 4.3 years) completed 2 30-minute submaximal exercise tests (conditions: upright and recumbent cycle ergometry). Executive function was assessed using the “color” and “word” Stroop task, preexercise (resting) and postexercise. Regional oxygen saturation (rSO2) to the prefrontal cortex was continuously monitored using near-infrared spectroscopy.
Significant improvements in executive function (Stroop color and word tasks) were observed after 30 minutes of exercise for both upright and recumbent cycling (P < .05). However, there were no differences in executive function between cycling conditions (P > .05). A significant increase in rSO2 was recorded immediately postexercise compared with preexercise for both conditions (P < .05), with a trend (P = .06) for higher peak rSO2 following recumbent cycling compared with upright cycling (81.9% ± 6.5% cf 79.7% ± 9.3%, respectively).
Although submaximal cycling exercise acutely improves cognitive performance and prefrontal oxygenation, changes in cognition are not perceived to be dependent on body posture in young, healthy men.
Faulkner is with the Dept of Sport & Exercise, University of Winchester, Winchester, UK. Lambrick is with the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, UK. Kaufmann is with the Faculty of Philosophy II, Julius Maximilians University, Würzburg, Germany. Stoner is with the School of Sport and Exercise, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand.