Similar improvements in cognitive inhibitory control following low-intensity resistance exercise with slow movement and tonic force generation and high-intensity resistance exercise in healthy young adults: a preliminary study

J Physiol Sci. 2021 Jul 17;71(1):22. doi: 10.1186/s12576-021-00806-0.

Abstract

This study compared the effects of low-intensity resistance exercise with slow movement and tonic force generation (ST-LRE) and high-intensity resistance exercise (HRE) on post-exercise improvements in cognitive inhibitory control (IC). Sixteen young males completed ST-LRE and HRE sessions in a crossover design. Bilateral knee extensor ST-LRE and HRE (8 repetitions/set, 6 sets) were performed with 50% of one-repetition maximum with slow contractile speed and 80% of one-repetition maximum with normal contractile speed, respectively. The IC was assessed using the color-word Stroop task at six time points: baseline, pre-exercise, immediate post-exercise, and every 10 min during the 30-min post-exercise recovery period. The blood lactate response throughout the experimental session did not differ between ST-LRE and HRE (condition × time interaction P = 0.396: e.g., mean ± standard error of the mean; 8.1 ± 0.5 vs. 8.1 ± 0.5 mM, respectively, immediately after exercise, P = 0.983, d = 0.00). Large-sized decreases in the reverse-Stroop interference scores, which represent improved IC, compared to those before exercise (i.e., baseline and pre-exercise) were observed throughout the 30 min post-exercise recovery period for both ST-LRE and HRE (decreasing rate ≥ 38.8 and 41.4%, respectively, all ds ≥ 0.95). The degree of post-exercise IC improvements was similar between the two protocols (condition × time interaction P = 0.998). These findings suggest that despite the application of a lower exercise load, ST-LRE improves post-exercise IC similarly to HRE, which may be due to the equivalent blood lactate response between the two protocols, in healthy young adults.

Keywords: Blood pressure; Brain health; Cognitive function; Electromyographic activity; Lactate; Perceived exertion.