The effect of cognitive fatigue on physical activity intention and behavior among physically active and inactive individuals

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

Abstract: The American College of Sports Medicine recommends young adults engage in physical activity (PA) regularly for the purpose of psychological and physical health. However, the majority of young adults in the United States fail to meet the PA guidelines. Past literature has shown that cognitive fatigue (CF) negatively influences subsequent cognitive activities and physical performance, yet only several studies investigated the effects of CF on motivation, intention, and planning to participate in PA when they are cognitively fatigued. These studies are limited to either physically active or inactive populations, and it is unclear if there is difference in the effects of CF on PA intention between physically active and inactive individuals. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of CF on PA intention and behavior among physically active (HPA) and low physically active (LPA) college students. It was hypothesized that HPA would report higher intentions to participate in PA and actual PA behaviors compared to LPA, but when individuals were cognitively fatigued, they would report lower intentions and actual behaviors compared to when they were not cognitively fatigued. Undergraduate male and female students who were enrolled in KIN 388 in Spring 2021 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro participated in this research study as a part of their lab assignment. The results showed that the CF task failed to produce a measurable change in self-reported fatigue. However, HPA intended to participate in PA significantly more than LPA within the 24 hours after the experiment. Furthermore, HPA actually performed significantly higher PA than LPA within the 24 to 48 hours after the experiment. Lastly, although there was no difference in intentions to participate in PA between cognitively fatigued and non-cognitively fatigued individuals, actual behavior showed that cognitively fatigued individuals performed PA significantly less than non-cognitively fatigued individuals. It is concluded that there was an effect of CF on PA behaviors when comparing between HPA and LPA individuals.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2021
Cognitive fatigue, Physical activity, Physical activity intention
Exercise $x Psychological aspects
Mental fatigue

Email this document to