Influence of acute high-intensity interval training bout on cognitive performance.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Introduction: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) appears to be a time-efficient and safe exercise, promoting improvements in aerobic fitness and in some cardiometabolic risk factors in both healthy subjects or clinical patients1. Acute bouts of exercise have an influence on cognitive function even if the exercise-cognition relation is complex, depending on the type, duration and intensity of exercise and the type of the cognitive task required2. The aim of this study was to analyze the influence of an acute bout of low volume-high intensity interval training (LV-HIIT) on visual-spatial ability. Methods: 36 healthy active young women (age: 22.0±1.4 yr; BMI: 21.4±1.9 kg/m2; V’O2max: 40.5±3.8 mlO2/kg/min) engaged in (1) a LV-HIIT session, consisting of 3 repeated 20s Wingate against a resistance 5.0% body mass interspersed by 2 min of active recovery3 followed by a cognitive training (LV-HIIT, N18) or (2) a control session, consisting of a same time period of listening to music (CON, N18). The day before and immediately after each experimental session, cognitive performance was assessed by the Paper Folding & Cutting Test (PFC)4 and Mental Rotation Test (MS, MRT)5,6. Results: A significant (p<0.0001) decrease in mean power output and a significant (p<0.001) rise in Borg Scale were found (mean power: Bout1 389±45 W, Bout2 373±52 W, Bout3 357±61 W; Borg Scale: Bout1 3±1 RPE, Bout2 4±2 RPE, Bout3 6±2 RPE), detecting an increased fatigue state in the LV-HIIT group. The time to complete the PFC test was significantly (p<0.05) lower (pre: LV-HIIT 456±129 s, CON 429±129 s; post: LV-HIIT 240±89 s, CON 226±77 s) and the number of errors significantly (p<0.001) decreased in the post test (pre: LV-HIIT 9±3 n, CON 9±3 n; post: LV-HIIT 13±2 n, CON 12±3 n) compared with pre test for both groups. Discussion: Our study demonstrated that a LV-HIIT session does not impair cognitive performance on visual-spatial ability in healthy active young women when mediated by cognitive training, confirming, in accordance with Alves7, that cycling could be associated with enhanced performance after exercise regardless exercise intensity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationECSS’s 23th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science, Book of Abstract
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventECSS's 23th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 4 Jul 20187 Jul 2018


ConferenceECSS's 23th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science
CityDublin, Ireland


  • high intensity internal training, cognitive performance


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