Effects of acute exercise on executive function: A study with a Tower of London task

Yu Kai Chang, Chia Liang Tsai, Tsung Min Hung, Edmund Cheung So, Feng Tzu Chen, Jennifer L. Etnier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study is to extend the literature by examining the effects of an acute bout of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise on the executive functions of planning and problem solving assessed using a Tower of London Task (TOL Task). Forty-two participants were randomly assigned into either exercise or control group, and performed the TOL Task, before and immediately following exercise or a control treatment. The exercise group performed 30 min of exercise on a stationary cycle at moderate to vigorous intensity while the control group read for the same length of time. Results indicated that the exercise group achieved improvements in TOL Task scores reflecting the quality of planning and problem solving, but not in those reflecting rule adherence and performance speed. These findings indicate that an acute bout of aerobic exercise has facilitative effects on the executive functions of planning and problem solving.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-865
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec



  • Acute exercise
  • Cognitive function
  • Neuropsychological test
  • Planning
  • Problem solving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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