Effect of Acute Aerobic Exercise in Different Environments on Men’s Cognitive Function
Background. Scientists find more and more connections between cognitive functions and physical activity, but most studies investigating the effects of acute aerobic exercise on cognitive functions are performed under laboratory conditions, so there is not enough information about the effect of acute aerobic exercises performed in different environments on cognitive functions.
The goal was to determine the effect of acute aerobic exercises performed in different environments on men’s cognitive functions.
Methods. The study included 10 physically active healthy men, 23.2 ± 2.2 years of age. A 20-minute acute aerobic exercise was applied in a forest, a city and an indoor environment. Cognitive functions were assessed in each environment before and after exercise by “Stroop” and “Trail Making” tests.
Results. Mental flexibility (p < 0.05; p = 0.01) significantly improved in the forest environment compared to the urban environment. It was also observed that attention (p < 0.05; p = 0.01), reaction speed (p < 0.05; p = 0.02) and mental flexibility (p < 0.05; p = 0.01) significantly improved in the forest environment compared to the indoor environment.
Conclusions. Acute aerobic exercise performed in a quiet forest, city and indoor environments significantly improved cognitive functions. It was also observed that mental flexibility significantly improved in the forest environment, compared to the urban or indoor environment, while attention and reaction speed significantly improved in the forest environment, compared to the indoor environment.
Keywords: acute aerobic exercise, men, cognitive functions, environment.
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