Irene M.J. van der Fels1, Joanne Smith1, Roel J. Bosker2,3, Marsh Königs4, Jaap Oosterlaan4,5,6, Chris Visscher1 and Esther Hartman1
1 University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Center for Human Movement Sciences, Groningen, The Netherlands.
2 University of Groningen, Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Department of Educational Sciences, Groningen, The Netherlands.
3 University of Groningen, Groningen Institute for Educational Research, Groningen, The Netherlands.
4 Emma Children’s Hospital, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
5 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Clinical Neuropsychology Section, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
6 VU University Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
This study aimed to investigate whether (1) acute physical activity has positive effects on response inhibition and lapses of attention; and (2) cognitively engaging physical activity has stronger effects on response inhibition and lapses of attention than aerobic physical activity. Children (n = 89) were randomly assigned to the aerobic or cognitively engaging intervention, or a control condition. Response inhibition and lapses of attention were measured with a stop-signal task using a pre-post design. Multilevel analysis revealed no significant beneficial effect of acute physical activity on response inhibition and lapses of attention, nor differences between the interventions. However, more time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) led to better response inhibition and reduced lapses of attention. It is concluded that positive effects of acute physical activity on response inhibition and lapses of attention are dependent on the intensity and duration, without indications for differential effects of the type of activity.
KEYWORDS: Primary school children; Cognition; Executive functions; Exercise.