FIT Kids: Time in target heart zone and cognitive performance

Prev Med. 2011 Jun;52 Suppl 1:S55-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2011.01.019. Epub 2011 Jan 31.


Objective: This present study examined time spent in the target heart zone (THZ) and its relationship to tasks requiring variable amounts of executive control function in prepubescent children participating in a 9-month randomized controlled physical activity program.

Methods: A sample of 59 participants performed the Stroop Color-Word Test and the Comprehensive Trail Making Test cognitive assessments. Heart rate data were collected during participation in the physical activity program using E600 heart rate monitors (Polar, Finland).

Results: There was a significant difference, F(1, 58)=7.44, p <.009, between males and females for relative VO2max, but not absolute (p=.69) or percent VO2max (p=.73). Regression analysis identified KBIT, age, and mean time above the THZ as significant predictors of performance in the Stroop Color-Word condition, F(1, 56)=5.21, p=.02. KBIT and mean time above the THZ were significant predictors for Trails B, F(1, 56)=7.60.

Conclusions: These results suggest that heart rate, as a measure of physical activity intensity, should be closely monitored during research that is intended to make inferences about its effects on cognitive performance as participation in vigorous activities may have specific benefits over lower intensities among prepubescent children.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Cognition*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Midwestern United States
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Fitness
  • Psychological Tests
  • Regression Analysis
  • Schools
  • Sex Factors