Objectives: The aim of the current study was two-fold: to examine the effects of acute, moderate intensity resistance exercise (RE) on working memory in young and older males, respectively. Design: A two-study approach with a within-subjects design. Methods: Study 1 recruited 20 young males aged 21-30 years. Participants underwent two experimental sessions, the exercise session and reading session, in a counterbalanced order. The RE protocol included two sets of 10 repetitions at 70% of 10-repetition maximum of eight muscle exercises. The Sternberg working memory paradigm with two probe types (in-set probes and out-of-set probes) was used as the cognitive task where reaction times (RT) and response accuracy were identified. Study 2 recruited 20 older male adults aged 65-72 years. The methods and experimental procedures were the same as Study 1. Results: In Study 1, young males demonstrated shorter RTs after the exercise treatment as compared with the reading treatment for both probe types. In Study 2, older males showed shorter RTs after the exercise treatment as compared with the reading treatment in the out-of-set probes only. Conclusions: While acute RE benefited working memory in both young and older males, rather than general facilitation, it was shown to have a disproportionately larger effect on older males for tasks involving higher working memory demands.
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