Del Giorno, J. M., Hall, E. E., Bixby, W. R., O'Leary, K. C., & Miller, P. C. (2008). Cognitive function during and following submaximal exercise: Does exercise intensity matter? ACSM 55th Annual Meeting Indianapolis, Presentation Number 2042.

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This study examined the influence of exercise intensity on cognitive function during and following exercise. College-aged Ss (M = 17; F = 13) completed three sessions; a graded exercise test to determine VO2max and ventilatory threshold and two 30-minute bouts of exercise on a recumbent bike at ventilatory threshold and 75% of ventilatory threshold. Three cognitive tests were given before, during, immediately following, and 20 minutes after exercise in the ventilatory threshold and 75% ventilatory threshold conditions. The cognitive tasks included a motor tap, contingent continuous performance, and card sort.

At both ventilatory threshold exercise intensities, there was a significant decrease in tap rate during exercise with an increase in tap rate immediately following exercise in ventilatory threshold condition for both the dominant and non-dominant hands. A significant decrease in reaction time and an increase in false alarms during contingent continuous performance task occurred at both intensities during exercise. Time to complete the card sort task showed a significant decrease during and following the exercise bout. There was a significant increase in unique errors during exercise for both intensities.

Implication. Cognitive function (card sort, contingent continuous performance, and motor tap) was decreased during exercise. Only the motor tap improved immediately following exercise.

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