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Recent reviews of the literature have demonstrated that exercise has a positive impact on cognitive performance. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of an acute bout of aerobic exercise on executive functioning in college-age adults. For the experimental intervention, the effects of 20 min of self-paced moderate-intensity exercise on a treadmill were compared to the effects of a 20-min sedentary control period. Executive functioning was assessed using Stroop color-word interference and negative priming tests. Results indicated that the bout of exercise led to improved performance on the Stroop color-word interference task but no change in performance on the negative priming task. This finding suggests that exercise may facilitate cognitive performance by improving the maintenance of goal-oriented processing in the brain.
Department of Physical Education, Health, and Sport Studies, Miami University, Oxford, OH, 45056
Dept. of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
Le Masurier is currently with the Dept. of Physical Education, Malaspina University-College, Nanaimo, BC, Canada V9R 5S5.