PROLONGED EXERCISE IN THE HEAT REDUCES COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING

Chen, Y., & Wong, S. H. (2011). One-hour moderate run in hot environments impairs the cognitive performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(5). Supplement abstract 916.

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This study observed the effect of a one-hour moderate run in a hot and humid environment on cognitive performance. Healthy active men (N = 8) and eumenorrheic women (N = 8) participated in the study. Urine samples were obtained and entire volume measured immediately after a one-hour run at 60%VO2max with Ss' emptying their bladders as completely as possible. A Chinese Version of CogState was completed in sequence: four-choice reaction time, visual vigilance, match-to-sample, repeated acquisition, and grammatical reasoning. These tests provided information on a variety of cognitive parameters on arrival and immediately after the one-hour run on the treadmill in the hot environment.

The hot environments (~29.1C, ~71% relative humidity) were similar during all exercise periods for all the Ss. After the completion of the one-hour run, the male and female Ss lost ~2.1% and ~1.6% of their pre-exercise body weight, respectively. Significant decrements were found after the one-hour run for the Identification Task Accuracy, the Learning Task Speed, and Accuracy, and List Based Tasks Duration. An improvement in Detection Task Speed was observed in men but not in women.

Implication. A one-hour moderate treadmill exercise in a hot environment impaired the functions of identification, learning, and perception. Detection speed improved in men but not women.

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