The effect of acute exercise on cognition

Keywords: short-term memory, cognitive flexibility, hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, cognitive tests


Background and Study Aim. Several lines of evidence indicate that physical activity has a positive impact on central nervous system. The positive impact is observed in areas of brain related to cognitive processes such as memory, learning and attention. The majority of studies focused on the chronic effects of exercise. Relatively limited number of reports addresses the problem of influence of acute exercise (single bouts of exercise) on cognitive functions. Material and methods. We examined the influence of a single bout of exercise on cognitive performance of young volunteers (23 males; aged 20,91 ± 1,01). To evaluate the cognitive performance in our subjects we used Face/Name Association Test, Stroop Test and Trail Making Test. Volunteers run for 30 minute at moderate –intensity. Results. The mean results in the Face/Name Association Test before acute exercise were 63,52 ± 5,65% and after acute exercise 67,34 ± 5,82% (p<0,005). Statistically differences results were also observed in duration of the retrieval phase of this test (p<0,005). In the Trial Making Test, in part A mean results before acute exercise were 66,26 ±11,24 seconds and after physical training 52,39 ± 11,10 seconds (p<0,005). In part B mean results were 80,60 ± 22,52 and 70,47 ± 14,54 seconds before and after acute exercise, respectively (p<0,05). We have not observed statistical difference in results of the Stroop Test. Conclusions. Our data suggest that a single bout of exercise can influence the level of cognitive performance. We demonstrate improvement in cognitive function depending on hippocampus (short-term memory) and prefrontal cortex (attention, cognitive flexibility). We have not observed influence of acute exercise on Stroop test (executive function) results.


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Author Biographies

Blanka Dwojaczny, Collegium Medicum im. L.Rydygiera Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń; Department of Human Physiology, Collegium Medicum im. L.Rydygiera Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland.
Sergii Iermakov, Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport; Doctor of Sciences in Pedagogy, Professor; Department of Sport, Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport; Gdansk, Poland.
Tatiana Yermakova, Kharkov State Academy of Design and Arts; Doctor of Sciences in Pedagogy, Professor; Department of Pedagogy, Kharkov State Academy of Design and Arts; Kharkov, Ukraine.
Mirosława Cieślicka, Collegium Medicum im. L.Rydygiera Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland; Department of Human Physiology, Collegium Medicum im. L.Rydygiera Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland.


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How to Cite
Dwojaczny B, Iermakov S, Yermakova T, Cieślicka M. The effect of acute exercise on cognition. Physical education of students. 2020;24(6):325-31.