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Neuropsychologia. 2018 Jan 8;108:73-81. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.11.029. Epub 2017 Nov 27.

Executive-related oculomotor control is improved following a 10-min single-bout of aerobic exercise: Evidence from the antisaccade task.

Author information

1
School of Kinesiology and Graduate Program in Neuroscience, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 3K7.
2
School of Kinesiology and Graduate Program in Neuroscience, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 3K7. Electronic address: mheath2@uwo.ca.

Abstract

Previous work has shown that a single-bout of moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise improves task-specific activity within frontoparietal networks and produces a short-term 'boost' to executive-related cognitive control - an effect in healthy young adults that is reported to be selective to exercise durations of 20min or greater. The present study sought to determine whether such a 'boost' extends to an exercise duration as brief as 10min. Healthy young adults performed a 10-min single-bout of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise (i.e., via a cycle ergometer) and pre- and post-exercise executive control was examined via the antisaccade task. Antisaccades are an executive task requiring a goal-directed eye movement (i.e., a saccade) mirror-symmetrical to a visual stimulus. The hands- and language-free nature of antisaccades coupled with the temporal precision of eye-tracking technology make it an ideal tool for identifying executive performance changes. Moreover, an extensive literature has shown that antisaccades are mediated via frontoparietal networks that are modulated following single-bout and chronic exercise training. Results showed that antisaccade reaction time (RT) reliably decreased by 27ms from pre- to post-exercise assessments. Further, the percentage of antisaccade directional errors did not reliably vary from the pre- (13%) to post-exercise (9%) assessments - a result indicating that the RT improvement was unrelated to a speed-accuracy trade-off. A follow-up experiment involving antisaccade sessions separated by a non-exercise interval did not show a similar RT modulation. Thus, a 10-min bout of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise benefits executive-related oculomotor control, and is a finding we attribute to an exercise-based increase in attention/arousal and/or improved task-specific activity within the frontoparietal networks supporting antisaccades.

KEYWORDS:

Aerobic exercise; Antisaccades; Executive control; Oculomotor; Single-bout

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