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Acute Exercise and Academic Achievement in High School Youth

Andrew Harveson, James Hannon, Timothy Brusseau, Les Podlog, Ben Chase, Kyoung-doo Kang


The purpose of this study was to compare the acute effects of Aerobic Exercise (AE), Resistance Exercise (RE), and a nonexercise (NE) control on measures of academic achievement (AA) and cognition in 10th grade males and females. This study utilized a randomized crossover design. Tenth grade males and females performed three exercise trials (AE, RE, NE) separated by 7 days each. Immediately following exercise, participants completed a 10-question mathematics test, followed by the Stroop test. A repeated measures ANOVA revealed small but insignificant differences in mean math test performance between RE and NE, F(1,86) = 2.81, p = .098, η2 = .032, and AE and NE, F(1,86) = 2.03, p = .158, η2 = .023. Significant differences were found between RE and NE in the Stroop dot test, F(1,86) = 4.31, p = .041, η2 = .048, and between AE and NE in the Stroop dot test, F(1,86) = 10.402, p = .002, η2 = .108, and Stroop color test, F(1,86) = 6.85, p = .01, η2 = .074. In conclusion, acute RE and AE did not significantly improve scores on a test of mathematics, but did improve measures of cognition in comparison to an NE control.

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resistance exercise; aerobic exercise; cognition; mathematics

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