Vigilance performance during acute exercise

Francisco González-Fernández */**, Jennifer L. Etnier ***, Mikel Zabala **** and Daniel Sanabria */**

(*) Mind, Brain & Behavior Research Center, Universidad de Granada, Spain
(**) Departamento de Psicología Experimental, Universidad de Granada, Spain
(***) Department of Kinesiology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA
(****) Departamento de Educación Física y Deportiva, Universidad de Granada, Granada, Spain

Vigilance, the cognitive function that determines goal maintenance and attention deployment, is involved in many day life activities, which often implicate physical activity. We investigated vigilance performance during exercise, with a particular focus on exercise intensity. In Experiment 1, participants performed the psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) for 5’ at 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% of the ventilatory anaerobic threshold (VAT), in different sessions. The results showed that PVT performance depended on exercise intensity with an “optimal” point at 80% of VAT. In Experiment 2, participants completed a 45’ version of the PVT at a loweffort (control) condition and at a 75% VAT light-moderate effort condition. Reaction times were faster at the light-moderate effort than at the low-effort condition over the 45’. The present study demonstrated that the vigilance performance changes during acute exercise, an effect that is moderated by effort intensity.

Keywords: Physical activity, Psychomotor vigilance, Reaction time cognition, Sustained attention. Task