Objectives: To examine the effect of an acute bout of resistance exercise on cognitive performance in healthy middle-aged adults. Design: A randomized controlled trial design. Methods: Forty-one adults (Mage = 49.10 years, SD = 8.73) were randomly assigned to either resistance exercise or a control condition. The resistance exercise condition consisted of 2 sets of 10 repetitions for 6 exercises, and the control condition involved reading about resistance exercise for a time period approximating the duration of the exercise condition. The Stroop Test and the Trail Making Test (TMT) were completed at baseline and immediately following performance of the treatment. Results: Results indicated that resistance exercise significantly benefits speed of processing (Stroop Word and Stroop Color), and that there is a trend towards resistance exercise benefiting performance on an executive function task (Stroop Color-Word) that requires shifting of the habitual response. However, the results for the TMT were not significant which demonstrates that acute resistance exercise has a limited effect on inhibition. Conclusion: The present findings extend the literature by indicating that an acute bout of resistance exercise has a positive impact on automatic cognitive processes and on particular types of executive function in middle-aged adults.
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