This study aimed to determine the effect of acute exercise in the potential context of non-pharmacological intervention for methamphetamine (MA)-related craving; we additionally determine its effect on the inhibitory control induced by standard and MA-related tasks according to behavioral and neuroelectric measurements among MA-dependent individuals. The present study employed a within-subjects, counterbalanced design. A total of 24 participants who met the DSM-IV criteria for MA dependence were recruited. The craving level, reaction time, and response accuracy, as well as the event-related potential (ERP) components N2 and P3, were measured following exercise and the control treatment in a counterbalanced order. The exercise session consisted of an acute stationary cycle exercise at a moderate intensity, whereas the control treatment consisted of an active reading session. The self-reported MA craving was significantly attenuated during, immediately following, and 50. min after the exercise session compared with the pre-exercise ratings, whereas the craving scores at these time points following exercise were lower than those for the reading control session. Acute exercise also facilitated inhibitory performance in both the standard and MA-related Go/Nogo tasks. A larger N2 amplitude, but not a larger P3 amplitude, was observed during both tasks in the exercise session and the Nogo condition compared with the reading control session and the Go condition. This is the first empirical study to demonstrate these beneficial effects of acute aerobic exercise at a moderate intensity on MA-related craving and inhibitory control in MA-dependent individuals. These results suggest a potential role for acute aerobic exercise in treating this specific type of substance abuse.
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