Pairing cognitive training and exercise

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Daniel Morgan Pendleton (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Jennifer Etnier

Abstract: The research on the cognitive benefits of exercise has shown that regular participation in physical activity can improve performance for cognitive activities. Recently, animal research has shown that combining physical activity (PA) with cognitive training concomitantly, produces greater increases in cognitive performance than either done alone. The human research that has been designed to explore the effects of combined exercise and cognitive training has implemented the training on separate days and in separate locations. Thus, the human research has not looked at combining PA and cognitive engagement during exercise in the same way the animal research has. Therefore, the current study investigated the cognitive benefits of a cognitive training protocol performed during an exercise task as compared to cognitive training or exercise training alone. Participants (N = 24) were randomized to one of three groups that engaged in a 6-day training protocol. There was a bike group that exercised at a moderate intensity, a game group that engaged in an interactive learning software protocol, and a both group that completed the interactive learning software protocol while simultaneously exercising. All participants were tested before and after the 6 day training session on the Wonderlic Personnel Test, the Stroop Test, the Trail Making Tests A and B (TMTA, TMTB) and the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT). The results of the Repeated Measures ANOVA for the Stroop test showed there was a significant interaction of time x test x group, p < .05 indicating that while the two exercise groups (bike and both) had improvements in scores on all subtests over time, the game group did improve on the color subtest but did not improve on the word and color-word subtests. Analysis of the Stroop interference score also showed a significant time x group interaction, p < .05. Examination of the means showed that the bike group and the both group reduced their time to completion from pretest to posttest, but the game group increased their completion time and therefore performed worse at posttest. An examination of the set-switch score for the TMT indicated that the interaction of time x group approached significance, p = .062. Examination of the means indicated that the bike group and the both group reduced their time to completion from pretest to posttest, but the game group increased their completion time from pretest to posttest. The findings suggest that combining exercise and a cognitive training protocol can produce significant results on cognitive measures after a 6-day intervention.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
Exercise, Physical activity, Cognitive
Cognition $x Effect of exercise on
Exercise $x Psychological aspects

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