Influence of physical exercise on simple reaction time: effect of physical fitness

Percept Mot Skills. 1997 Dec;85(3 Pt 1):1019-27. doi: 10.2466/pms.1997.85.3.1019.


The influence of physical fitness and energy expenditure on a simple reaction time task performed during exercise was investigated. Two groups of 10 subjects were used, one was composed of trained middle-distance runners and one of students who had no regular physical training. The subjects performed a simple reaction time task while pedalling on a cycloergometer at different relative power output corresponding to 20, 40, 60, and 80% of their own maximal aerobic power and immediately after exercise. During exercise, the results showed a decrease in cognitive performance for both groups whereas no significant effect was found after exercise. A significant effect of physical fitness on simple reaction time was noted during exercise. The data are interpreted in terms of optimization of performance focusing particularly on the relations between energy cost of the physical task and attentional demand.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lactates / blood
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Reaction Time* / physiology


  • Lactates