[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regular physical activity participation seems to be linked to brain metabolism and to be one factor responsible for different effects of high intensity exercise on cognition. Due to this, we investigated the effect of an intermittent maximal exercise intervention on a neuropsychological test requiring sustained and selective attention in a group of low and high physically active subjects.
Forty six healthy students (age: M = 23.11, SD = 2.60 years) performed in a cross-over design an intermittent incremental exercise until they reached their maximal heart rate (HR Max; intervention condition) or rested for the same duration (control condition) followed by the administration of the d2-test.
A significant interaction between physical activity participation level and exercise effect on cognitive performance emerged, with only the more physically active participants improving the performance in the cognitive test after the intervention.
These data extend the current knowledge base by showing that a higher participation rate in physical activity may lead to neurobiological adaptations that facilitate selected cognitive processes (i.e., attention) after high exercise intensities.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Archives of medical research