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Purpose: The goal of this meta-analysis was to aggregate available empirical studies on the effects of physical exercise on executive functions in preadolescent children (6-12 years of age), adolescents (13-17 years of age) and young adults (18-35 years of age). Method: The electronic databases PubMed, EMBASE and SPORTDiscus were searched for relevant studies reporting on the effects of physical exercise on executive functions. Nineteen studies were selected. Results: There was a significant overall effect of acute physical exercise on executive functions (d=0.52, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.76, p<0.001). There were no significant differences between the three age groups (Q (2)=0.13, p=0.94). Furthermore, no significant overall effect of chronic physical exercise (d=0.14, 95%CI -0.04 to 0.32, p=0.19) on executive functions (Q (1)=5.08, p<0.05) was found. Meta-analytic effect sizes were calculated for the effects of acute physical exercise on the domain's inhibition/interference control (d=0.46, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.60, p<0.001) and working memory (d=0.05, 95% CI -0.51 to 0.61, p=0.86) as well as for the effects of chronic physical exercise on planning (d=0.16, 95% CI 0.18 to 0.89, p=0.18). Conclusions: Results suggest that acute physical exercise enhances executive functioning. The number of studies on chronic physical exercise is limited and it should be investigated whether chronic physical exercise shows effects on executive functions comparable to acute physical exercise. This is highly relevant in preadolescent children and adolescents, given the importance of well-developed executive functions for daily life functioning and the current increase in sedentary behaviour in these age groups.
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... As part of the aging process, PE could prevent or at least delay the progression of mild-cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, and other types of dementia [26]. Moderate intensities of PE improve cognitive performance in the elderly population [27,28], young adults [15], teenagers and children [29][30][31][32]. Acute PE has been found to selectively confer boosting effects regarding processing speed capacity [33]. ...
... Acute PE has been found to selectively confer boosting effects regarding processing speed capacity [33]. A meta-analysis reported that teenagers and the elderly show the best improvement in cognitive tasks relative to any other age group [34], yet other studies have not found significant differences among children, teenagers, and young adults [30]. Furthermore, it has also been reported that PE effects on cognition are small and thus, it is questionable whether these would be relevant in everyday life [9]. ...
... The available evidence suggests that moderate to vigorous PE in teenagers is associated with fewer attention difficulties in classroom settings; furthermore, IC was found to partly mediate this association [35] Additionally, previous studies report better cognitive performance in different cognitive tasks after a single session of aerobic exercise [36][37][38]. These findings are supported by different meta-analyses looking at the specific effects on EF [30,34,39]. Results showed that acute sessions of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) have a positive effect on inhibition in children [6]. ...
Article
There is growing evidence that physical exercise (PE) may boost cognitive performance. However, criteria regarding PE intensity, duration, and frequency are still being studied. We hypothesize that high PE intensities have effects on inhibitory control. For this reason, our aim was to study is to study the effect of acute PE on IC in healthy young students of a bachelor's degree in physical education and exercise via a 20-minute indoor cycling session at an 80-90% HRmax intensity. We devised an experimental group design (n= 9) relative to a control group (n= 10) with pre-and-post-test IC measures. A Stroop task (two conditions) was administered to undergraduate students (Mage=23.3, SD=1.6) of a bachelor's degree program in Physical Education and Sports Sciences from a public university in Colombia. The computed MANOVA did not show an interaction effect between the experimental task of Stroop A-B x measure x group. However, a main effect of reduced response time was obtained after PE in the experimental group. Other main effects were observed in the number of correct and incorrect trials in the Stroop-B condition. The experimental group showed fewer correct answers after PE, and the control group showed fewer errors. It is concluded that high-intensity PE confers favorable effects on inhibitory control.
... Developmental studies investigating cognitive functioning in youth athletes are scant and highlight the importance of understanding cognitive functioning in an early phase of development to identify predictors of sports performance. A study testing 8-16-year-old elite soccer players and agematched non-elite soccer players revealed that measures of inhibition, alerting, and orientation of attention differentiated elite from non-elite players with high accuracy (Verburgh et al., 2014a). Similar results were found in other studies (Huijgen et al., 2015;Vestberg et al., 2017). ...
... Research on the role of EFs in sports performance has mainly focused on inhibition. In a study with youth soccer players (Verburgh et al., 2014a), high talented athletes performed significantly better than amateurs of the same age in inhibitory tasks. Similar results were observed with volleyball players (Lipoma et al., 2006), and in other open-skills sports (Wang et al., 2013). ...
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Developmental and cognitive psychology recently started to take an interest in the sports domain, exploring the role of either cognitive functions or emotions in youth sport. However, to the extent that cognition and emotions are inextricably linked, studying them jointly from a developmental perspective could inform on their interplay in determining performance in different sports. This research examined the role of general cognitive abilities, attentional style, and emotions (controlling for age and experience), in predicting performance in youth volleyball and artistic gymnastics. A total of 218 female participants, of which 114 volleyball players and 104 artistic gymnasts (11–17 years old) were administered two measures of working memory and six measures of executive functions (namely inhibition, updating, and shifting). They also completed an attentional style and an emotion-related questionnaire. For each volleyball player, an individual performance index based on every gesture performed during the games and controlled for the team performance was computed. As a measure of gymnasts’ performance, scores in 2017–2018 competitions were used. Regression analysis showed that the main predictor of the volleyball players’ performance (R2 = 0.23) was a working memory-updating factor (ß = 0.45, p = 0.001), together with experience (ß = 0.29, p = 0.030) and high-arousal unpleasant emotions (ß = 0.30, p = 0.029), which positively predicted performance. Experience (ß = 0.30, p = 0.011), age (ß = −0.036, p = 0.005) and high-arousal unpleasant emotions (ß = −0.27, p = 0.030) were the predictors of gymnasts’ performance (R2 = 0.25). These results represent a first step in understanding if and how youth female athletes of open- and closed-skills sports rely on different psychological abilities. This line of research could offer insight to practitioners regarding which psychological abilities could be more relevant to train depending on the type of sport.
... Un reciente meta-análisis de los efectos del ejercicio físico en las funciones ejecutivas (como la atención, la memoria de trabajo o la flexibilidad cognitiva) en preadolescentes, adolescentes y adultos jóvenes concluía que el ejercicio físico en periodos cortos de alta intensidad producía una mejora inmediata en estas funciones. Sin embargo, no hay suficientes estudios para valorar la influencia de programas de ejercicio físico regular, a largo plazo, en el rendimiento cognitivo (15). ...
... Por otra parte, mientras que parece bien establecido que la AF influye directamente en el SNC a través de los mecanismos descritos anteriormente, parece razonable pensar que buena parte de los efectos en el funcionamiento mental sean mediados a través de la mejora en la salud física (por ejemplo, disminuyendo la obesidad que han sido relacionados con bajo rendimiento académico) y en las condiciones psicosociales como la resiliencia o la autoestima (14) 1.3 Efectividad de las intervenciones de actividad física en la escuela para reducir la obesidad y el riesgo cardiometabólico, y mejorar la forma física. entorno escolar por su influencia en la conducta y en algunos indicadores de la salud, ya que, en general, los escolares que participan en programas de AF pasan menos tiempo delante de pantallas (televisión, ordenador, teléfono móvil, etc.) y mejoran su capacidad aeróbica (VO2 máximo) entre 1,6 -2,3 mL/kg (15). Además, otras revisiones han descrito mejoras moderadas en la composición corporal. ...
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Son muchos los estudios que han puesto de manifiesto los numerosos beneficios que la actividad física tiene sobre la salud física, psíquica y social en la infancia. Sin embargo, los niveles de inactividad física y sedentarismo en niños y niñas han aumentado significativamente en los últimos años, conduciendo a un aumento de la obesidad infantil y de enfermedades cardiovasculares. Con el objetivo de prevenir este problema de salud pública surgen los programas de promoción de actividad física en el entorno escolar MOVI. La última edición que el grupo del Centro de Estudios Sociosanitarios ha llevado a cabo analiza la efectividad de un programa de actividad física extraescolar (MOVI-da FIT!) basada en el entrenamiento a intervalos de alta intensidad (high intensity interval training -HIIT- por sus siglas en inglés) para mejorar la función ejecutiva, el rendimiento académico, la forma física y reducir la adiposidad y el riesgo cardiometabólico de los escolares. El presente libro va dirigido a profesionales de la educación, de la salud y de las ciencias de la actividad física y del deporte interesados en desarrollar y llevar a cabo intervenciones de actividad física destinadas a la prevención de la obesidad, la mejora de la forma física, el rendimiento cognitivo y académico de los escolares. En la primera parte, se describen los antecedentes y el estado actual del conocimiento que justifica este estudio. Además, se detallan los objetivos y la metodología utilizada en el mismo. En la segunda parte, se especifican las características del programa MOVI-da FIT!, y se detallan 50 de las sesiones utilizadas en el programa de forma reproducible, de tal forma que puedan ser de utilidad para cualquier profesional interesado en llevar a cabo intervenciones extraescolares de AF recreativa no competitiva.
... In recent years, the impact of exercise on children's EF has been the focus of international scholars. A growing body of research has explored the benefits of short-term (Chang et al., 2012;Vera and Emi, 2016), long-term (Ludyga et al., 2018;Liu et al., 2020), and a variety of traditional physical activities (Egger et al., 2018;Gu et al., 2021) on children's EF (Verburgh et al., 2014). Recently, within the preadolescent age range, several metaanalyses have shown that enhanced cognitive functioning as a result of physical activity is most obvious in EFs (Verburgh et al., 2014;Liu et al., 2020) and attention (Greeff et al., 2017). ...
... A growing body of research has explored the benefits of short-term (Chang et al., 2012;Vera and Emi, 2016), long-term (Ludyga et al., 2018;Liu et al., 2020), and a variety of traditional physical activities (Egger et al., 2018;Gu et al., 2021) on children's EF (Verburgh et al., 2014). Recently, within the preadolescent age range, several metaanalyses have shown that enhanced cognitive functioning as a result of physical activity is most obvious in EFs (Verburgh et al., 2014;Liu et al., 2020) and attention (Greeff et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Considering that motor and cognitive processes are intertwined and inhibit or help each other throughout life and that primary school age is one of the most critical stages of children's cognitive and motor development, this study aimed to investigate the relationship between executive functions and gross motor skills in Chinese children aged 9–10 years, as well as gender differences. The flanker task, the 1-back task, the more-odd shifting task, and the test of gross motor coordination (Körperkoordinationtest für Kinder) were used to collect data on executive functions and gross motor coordination. The results were as follows. First, there was a weak association between gross motor coordination and the inhibition reaction time in the congruent test and the reaction time of working memory (r = −0.181 to −0.233), but no association was found between gross motor coordination and cognitive flexibility. Second, a weak-to-moderate correlation was presented between the move sideways test and the inhibition reaction time in the congruent test and the reaction time in the refreshing test of the working memory (r = −0.211 to −0.330). Finally, gender influenced on the relationship between gross motor coordination and the reaction time of both inhibition (βGender = −0.153, p < 0.05) and working memory (βGender = −0.345, p < 0.01). To conclude, our results suggest that children with better motor coordination skills require less reaction time, especially girls, and this association was more substantial than in boys. The finding supports the current assertion that there are commonalities between gross motor coordination and cognitive control by showing the relationship between gross motor coordination and complex cognitive processes (executive function) in preadolescent children.
... These functions are believed to be important prerequisites for successful learning in preadolescent children [7], predict better health and wealth, and has been associated with a reduced likelihood of being convicted of a criminal offence [8]. Several recent meta-analyses have suggested that PA may positively affect cognition and executive function in children [9,10]. Despite the known benefits of an active lifestyle, more than half of Hong Kong's children and young people fail to follow the current physical activity recommendations [11], and trends show a decline in health-related physical fitness [12]. ...
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Background Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common developmental disorder in childhood, with a 5%-6% worldwide prevalence. Children with ADHD often demonstrate impaired executive function, which is closely related to the development of the commonly observed behavioral problems such as inattention, impaired inhibition, and hyperactivity. The purpose of this study is to examine whether a game-based high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program can improve the executive function of children with ADHD, compared with a traditional structured aerobic exercise program and a non-treatment control group. Methods/Design A total of 42 children with ADHD will be recruited to participate in this three-arm school-based randomized controlled trial. An 8-week specially designed game-based HIIT (GameHIIT) program and a traditional game-based structured aerobic exercise (GameSAE) program will be delivered to those children randomly assigned to these two intervention groups, while the children in the control group will maintain their regular physical activity over the same period. A number of outcome measures including executive function, cerebral hemodynamic response, physical activity, physical fitness, and enjoyment and adherence to the intervention will be assessed for both groups at baseline (T0), immediately after the intervention period (T1), and after the follow-up period (T2). Discussion HIIT has recently emerged as a feasible and efficacious strategy for increasing physical health outcomes and cognitive function, including executive function, in healthy young people. However, research has yet to investigate whether the executive function of children with ADHD can be effectively enhanced through HIIT. If, as hypothesized, GameHIIT program improves outcomes for children with ADHD, the present research will inform the development of targeted exercise programs that can be more broadly used with this particular population.
... We will not refer to the many existing studies investigating smartphone use and addiction via self-report Carvalho et al. 2018;), but will exclusively concentrate on works tracking the daily smartphone interaction directly via the smartphone and link this to self-reported personality measures. A second area to be reviewed will deal with physical activity, a variable being of more and more relevance in different areas of research such as health psychology and sport sciences (Mammen and Faulkner 2013;Verburgh et al. 2014;Blondell et al. 2014;Schuch et al. 2016). ...
Chapter
The aim of this chapter is to introduce and describe how digital technologies, in particular smartphones, can be used in research in two areas, namely (i) to conduct personality assessment and (ii) to assess and promote physical activity. This area of research is very timely, because it demonstrates how the ubiquitously available smartphone technology—next to its known advantages in day-to-day life—can provide insights into many variables, relevant for psycho-social research, beyond what is possible within the classic spectrum of self-report inventories and laboratory experiments. The present chapter gives a brief overview on first empirical studies and discusses both opportunities and challenges in this rapidly developing research area. Please note that the personality part of this chapter in the second edition has been slightly updated.
... PA is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure (Caspersen et al., 1985), while sedentary behaviour is defined as any waking behaviour characterized by an energy expenditure ≤ 1.5 metabolic equivalents, while in a sitting, reclining, or lying posture (Tremblay et al., 2017). Earlier studies have shown that PA is positively associated with children's cognitive functions (Verburgh et al., 2014) and learning outcomes (Bedard et al., 2019). Moreover, higher levels of PA have been associated with better cardiometabolic, vascular, bone and mental health in children and adolescents (Biddle et al., 2019;Janssen & LeBlanc, 2010). ...
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As a result of educational reforms in many countries, including Finland, new or renovated comprehensive schools have increasingly begun to incorporate open and flexible designs and principles. Multipurpose and adaptable open learning spaces can provide children with amplified opportunities to be physically active during general education. Classroom-based physical activity has been associated with better academic-related outcomes and students’ on-task behaviour, while overall physical activity has been associated with better health. In the present study, we investigated the effects of classroom type, gender and grade level on classroom-based physical activity, and the associations between systematically-observed teachers’ instructions about students’ movement and classroom-based physical activity. The participants consisted of 182 3rd and 5th grade students in one school with open learning space and two schools with conventional classrooms. Overall, classroom-based physical activity, assessed with accelerometery, was not higher in open learning space than in conventional classrooms. However, 5th grade students had more sedentary time and less moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in open learning spaces than conventional classrooms, but both 3rd and 5th graders had more breaks from sedentary time in open learning spaces than conventional classrooms. Girls were more sedentary than boys, while 5th graders were less physically active than 3rd graders. Teachers’ instructions regarding 5th graders’ movement in open learning spaces were more restrictive and both 3rd and 5th graders had more instructed transitions in open learning spaces. In conventional classrooms, students had more teacher-organised physical activity. Teachers’ restrictive guidance was associated with less light physical activity, while teachers’ organised physical activity was associated with more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
... Further, when accounting for type and experience of athlete, our results suggest that being a HIIT or an aerobically trained athlete, being a child athlete, an elite athlete or an older adult or masters athlete, gives rise to greater effect size performance outcomes of cognitive function tasks. Research on participation in physical activity throughout childhood has previously demonstrated positive associations to cognitive and brain function (de Greeff et al., 2018;Donnelly et al., 2016Donnelly et al., , 2011Drollette et al., 2014Drollette et al., , 2018Fox et al., 2010;Hillman et al., 2011;Pindus et al., 2016;Verburgh et al., 2014). Interestingly, there is also recent evidence advocating for the benefits of HIIT Drollette et al., 2018;Hsieh et al., 2021;Moreau & Chou, 2019) and aerobic exercise (Bidzan-Bluma & Lipowska, 2018;Carvalho et al., 2014;Chaddock-Heyman et al., 2013;Davis et al., 2011;Drollette et al., 2014Drollette et al., , 2018Hillman et al., 2011;Krafft et al., 2014;Lautenschlager et al., 2008;Stroth et al., 2009;Zheng et al., 2016) across the life span on measures of cognitive and brain function. ...
Article
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children and adolescents, is typically managed with medications which are associated with negative side effects. Therefore, non-pharmacological treatments, such as physical activity, are an attractive option. The aim of this meta-analysis was to explore the effects of acute physical activity on cognition in children and adolescents with ADHD. A comprehensive search of three literature databases yielded 14 studies for inclusion. An overall meta-analysis was conducted alongside sub-group analyses for cognitive domain, physical activity characteristics, and timing of cognitive measurements. Results revealed a small beneficial effect of physical activity on cognitive function (SMD = 0.18, [0.12,0.25], p < 0.01). Sub-group analyses revealed beneficial effects of physical activity on the domains of cognitive flexibility (SMD = 0.21, [0.09,0.32], p < 0.01), attention (SMD = 0.20, [0.09,0.32], p = 0.001), and inhibitory control (SMD = 0.18, [0.03,0.33], p = 0.02), but not memory (p = 0.87). Cognitive benefits also differed depending on physical activity duration (<10 min, p = 0.27; 11–20 min, SMD = 0.23, [0.14,0.31], p < 0.01; >20 min, SMD = 0.13, [-0.00,0.26], p = 0.05), and modality (running, SMD = 0.21, [0.12,0.29], p < 0.01; ‘other’, SMD = 0.39, [0.18,0.61], p < 0.01; cycling, p = 0.35), and the timing of cognitive measurement following physical activity (immediately, SMD = 0.17, [-0.01,0.35], p = 0.06; 2–10 min, SMD = 0.21, [0.12,0.30], p < 0.01; >10 min, SMD = 0.19, [-0.09,0.47], p = 0.19). Overall, physical activity has a positive acute effect on subsequent cognition in children and adolescents with ADHD, though effects may be domain specific and influenced by the duration and modality of physical activity. These findings have practical implications for those interested in using physical activity to enhance cognition in children and adolescents with ADHD.
Article
Executive function entails high-level cognitive control supporting activities of daily living. Literature has shown that a single-bout of exercise involving volitional muscle activation (i.e., active exercise) improves executive function and that an increase in cerebral blood flow (CBF) may contribute to this benefit. It is, however, unknown whether non-volitional exercise (i.e., passive exercise) wherein an individual's limbs are moved via an external force elicits a similar executive function benefit. This is a salient question given that proprioceptive and feedforward drive from passive exercise increases CBF independent of the metabolic demands of active exercise. Here, in a procedural validation participants (n = 2) used a cycle ergometer to complete separate 20-min active and passive (via mechanically driven flywheel) exercise conditions and a non-exercise control condition. Electromyography showed that passive exercise did not increase agonist muscle activation or increase ventilation or gas exchange variables (i.e., V̇O2 and V̇CO2 ). In a main experiment participants (n = 28) completed the same exercise and control conditions and transcranial Doppler ultrasound showed that active and passive exercise (but not the control condition) increased CBF through the middle cerebral artery (ps <.001); albeit the magnitude was less during passive exercise. Notably, antisaccade reaction times prior to and immediately after each condition showed that active (p < .001) and passive (p = .034) exercise improved an oculomotor-based measure of executive function, whereas no benefit was observed in the control condition (p = .85). Accordingly, results evince that passive exercise 'boosts' an oculomotor-based measure of executive function and supports convergent evidence that increased CBF mediates this benefit.
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Exercise can have profound effects on numerous biologic systems within the human body, including the central nervous system (CNS). The inherent complexity of the CNS, and the methodologic difficulties in evaluating its in vivo neurochemistry in humans, provide challenges to investigators studying the impact of exercise on the CNS. As a result, our knowledge in this area of exercise science remains relatively limited. However, advances in research technology are allowing investigators to gain valuable insight into the neurobiologic mechanisms that contribute to the bidirectional communication that occurs between the periphery and the CNS during exercise. This article examines how exercise-induced alterations in the CNS contribute to central fatigue and the overtraining syndrome, and how exercise can influence psychologic wellbeing and cognitive function.
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IntroductionDefinitional IssuesStructure–Function MappingEF in Typical DevelopmentEF in Atypical DevelopmentConclusion