Int J Sports Med 2020; 41(12): 879-884
DOI: 10.1055/a-1114-6170
Behavioural Sciences

Intense Cycling Exercise Improves Acute Cognitive Responses

Marcos Roberto Kunzler
1  Laboratory of Neuromechanics, Federal University of Pampa - Uruguaiana Campus, Uruguaiana, Brazil
Felipe P. Carpes
1  Laboratory of Neuromechanics, Federal University of Pampa - Uruguaiana Campus, Uruguaiana, Brazil
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Funding: This research was partially funded by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development CNPq-Brazil. A research fellowship from CNPq-Brazil supports FPC. The authors declare that they have no financial or other interest concerning the content of this paper.


Intense exercise promotes long-term gains in cognitive functions. On the other hand, intense exercise may result in acute effects not clearly determined for cognitive performance. A condition of stochastic intensity ranging from moderate to maximal efforts is part of sports like cycling, in which cognitive integrity is also important for fast decision making and information processing especially during high-speed performances. In this study we investigate the acute effect of cycling at intensities corresponding to 60%, 80% and 95% of the maximal power output (MP) on selective attention, reaction time and short-term memory in amateur trained cyclists. In this cross sectional study 20 male cyclists performed maximal and submaximal cycling tests under different exercise intensities. Cognitive measures were conducted before and after exercise. We found that short duration high intensity cycling (95%) improves selective attention but increases variability in simple reaction time responses, without significant effects on short-term memory. The high intensity exercise improves ability to manage more complex cognitive task especially when the variability in the task does not increase.

Supplementary Material


Eingereicht: 30. August 2019

Angenommen: 15. Januar 2020

29. Juni 2020 (online)

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