Effects of acute aerobic exercise on multiple aspects of executive function in preadolescent children

Ai Guo Chen, Jun Yan, Heng Chan Yin, Chien Yu Pan, Yu Kai Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The current study assessed the effects of acute exercise on three core executive functions in preadolescents and controlled for the moderating role of age. Design: A true experimental design. Methods: Thirty-four third-grade children and 53 fifth-grade preadolescents were randomly assigned into either an acute exercise group or a control group. The exercise protocol was designed for ecological validity and involved group jogging at moderate intensity for 30min. Participants completed inhibition, working memory, and shifting-related executive function tasks prior to and following the treatment. Results: Acute exercise facilitated performance in three executive function tasks in children in both grade groups; nevertheless, better performance was observed among the fifth graders in inhibition and working memory, but not in shifting, when compared with the third graders. Conclusion: These findings suggest that acute exercise benefited three primary aspects of executive function in general, regardless of the preadolescent age group, whereas the distinct components of executive function had different developmental trajectories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-636
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute exercise
  • Inhibition
  • Preadolescence
  • Shifting
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


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