No Change in Inhibitory Control or P3 Following Different High-Intensity Interval Exercise Modalities

Brain Sci. 2022 Jan 29;12(2):185. doi: 10.3390/brainsci12020185.


Acute aerobic high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) has demonstrated positive effects on inhibitory control and P3 event-related potential (ERP) in young adults. However, the evidence is not well established regarding the effects of different HIIE modalities that incorporate aerobic-resistance training on these cognitive and neurocognitive outcomes. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the transient effects of HIIE-aerobic and HIIE-aerobic/resistance on P3 and Flanker task performance. Participants (n = 24; 18-25 years old) completed the Flanker task at two time points (30 min and 85 min) following 9 min of HIIE-aerobic (intermittent bouts of walking and running at 90% of maximal heart rate), HIIE-aerobic/resistance (intermittent bouts of walking and high-intensity calisthenics), and seated rest on three separate counterbalanced days. Results revealed no changes in Flanker performance (i.e., reaction time and response accuracy) or P3 (latency and mean amplitude) following either HIIE conditions compared to seated rest. Together, these data suggest inhibitory control and neuroelectric underpinnings are not affected by different modalities of HIIE at 30 min and 85 min post-exercise. Such findings reveal that engaging in short bouts of different HIIE modalities for overall health neither improves nor diminishes inhibitory control and brain function for an extended period throughout the day.

Keywords: cognition; executive function; physical activity.