Executive Function During Acute Exercise: The Role of Exercise Intensity

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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This study was designed to examine the modulation of executive functions during acute exercise and to determine whether exercise intensity moderates this relationship. Eighty college-aged adults were recruited and randomly assigned into one of the four following groups: control, 30%, 50%, and 80% heart rate reserve. The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) was administered during each intervention. The results indicated that the majority of the WCST performances were impaired in the high exercise intensity group relative to those of the other three groups, whereas similar performance rates were maintained in the low- and moderate-intensity groups. These findings suggest that transient hypofrontality occurs during high-intensity exercise, but not during low- and moderate-intensity exercises. Future research aimed at employing the dual-mode theory, and applying the reticular-activating hypofrontality model is recommended to further the current knowledge.

Chun-Chih Wang, Chien-Heng Chu, Kuei-Hui Chan, and Yu-Kai Chang are with Graduate Institute of Athletics and Coaching Science, National Taiwan Sport University, Guishan Township, Taoyuan County, Taiwan, R.O.C. I-Hua Chu is with the Department of Sports Medicine, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, R.O.C.