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Effect of acute bout of moderate-intensity physical exercise on parameters of stress and cognitive functions

Mohita Singh, Sunil Sachdev, Amrita Singh.


Background: Stress is harmful to the body and produces changes in physiological and biochemical parameters. Up to a certain limit, stress is useful for learning and memory, but excessive amount effects higher brain functions such as memory, attention, and concentration, leading to anxiety and depression as donated by a U-shaped curve between stress and memory. Physical aerobic exercises promote positive changes in one’s mental health, intelligence, and ability to cope with stressful encounters. The present study was designed to explore the role of single bout of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on cognitive functions and stress parameters.

Aim and Objective: This study aims to study the effect of single bout of exercise on stress parameters; memory test (recent memory time, attention-concentration score, and attention-concentration time) and Stroop test (neutral, interference, and facilitation) score and time.

Materials and Methods: Basal parameters of cognitive tests (memory test and Stroop test) and stress parameters (pulse rate, blood pressure, isometric handgrip, and serum cortisol) were assessed. A single bout of moderate-intensity physical exercise (MIPE) was introduced and parameters were again assessed. Comparison was made between pre-exercise and post-exercise values.

Results: Post-exercise values of stress parameters reported significant decrease over pre-exercise value. Handgrip and serum cortisol reflected no significant change. Post-exercise values of cognitive tests observed significant increase in score while significant decrease in time over pre-exercise value.

Conclusion: Single bout of MIPE reduced stress level and improved cognitive functions though the effect was temporary.

Key words: Acute Bout of Exercise; Cognition; Stress Response; Handgrip; Moderate-intensity Physical Exercise

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