Exploring the Dose-Response Relationship between Resistance Exercise Intensity and Cognitive Function

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Yu-Kai Chang National Taiwan Sport University

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Jennifer L. Etnier University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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The purpose of this study was to explore the dose-response relationship between resistance exercise intensity and cognitive performance. Sixty-eight participants were randomly assigned into control, 40%, 70%, or 100% of 10-repetition maximal resistance exercise groups. Participants were tested on Day 1 (baseline) and on Day 2 (measures were taken relative to performance of the treatment). Heart rate, ratings of perceived exertion, self-reported arousal, and affect were assessed on both days. Cognitive performance was assessed on Day 1 and before and following treatment on Day 2. Results from regression analyses indicated that there is a significant linear effect of exercise intensity on information processing speed, and a significant quadratic trend for exercise intensity on executive function. Thus, there is a dose-response relationship between the intensity of resistance exercise and cognitive performance such that high-intensity exercise benefits speed of processing, but moderate intensity exercise is most beneficial for executive function.

Chang is with the Graduate Institute of Coaching Sciences, National Taiwan Sport University, Taoyuan, Taiwan (Republic of China). Etnier is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC.

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