Influence of acute exercise on inhibitory control and working memory of children: a comparison between soccer, resistance, and coordinative exercises

Xu Wen *, Yuxin Yang * and Fubaihui Wang **

(*) Department of Sport & Exercise Science, College of Education, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, P. R. China
(**) China Institute of Sport Science, Beijing, P. R. China

Citation

Wen, X., Yang, Y., Wang, F. (2021). Influence of acute exercise on inhibitory control and working memory of children: a comparison between soccer, resistance, and coordinative exercises. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 52(2), 101-119. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2021.52.101

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The effects of resistance, coordinative, and comprehensive exercises on the executive function of children have not yet reached a conclusion due to inconsistent findings and paucity of evidence. This study compares the acute effects of resistance, coordinative, and soccer exercises on inhibitory control and working memory of children. METHODS: A total of 145 Chinese children (71 girls and 74 boys) aged 10-12 years old were recruited to participate in a pretest-post test randomized group study. Participants were randomly assigned to 40 minutes of resistance training, coordinative training, soccer training, and control groups (watching of cartoons). The inhibitory control and working memory of participants were measured via Go/NoGo, 2-back test, respectively, before and after the assigned intervention. RESULTS: Results of repeated analysis of variance (ANOVA) demonstrated that time × group interaction was significant in terms of accuracy rate of Go/NoGo test, and the reaction time and accuracy rate of 2-back test. Compared with those in the control group, participants in the resistance, coordinative, soccer training groups had shorter reaction time in the 2-back test, and better accuracy rate in Go/NoGo and 2-back tests. However, no significant difference was observed in the reaction time and accuracy rate of both tests between the three exercise intervention groups. CONCLUSION: Acute resistance, coordinative training, and soccer training with moderate intensity have positive impacts on the inhibitory control and working memory of children, at least temporarily. No difference in executive function improvement was found in the three types of exercise.

Keywords: Coordinative exercise, Inhibitory control, Resistance exercise, Soccer, Working memory


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