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Original articles  

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2001 December;41(4):528-38

language: English

Biopsychological, affective and cognitive responses to acute physical activity

Oweis P., Spinks W.

From the Department of Human Movement Studies, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia


Background. To investigate, based on biopsychological arousal theory, the influence of physical activity intensity on biopsychological, affective and cognitive function.
Methods. Design: repeated measures experiment involving one control and three treatment conditions. Setting: controlled laboratory environment. Participants: twenty-one (of 27 volunteers) non-contraindicated females (55-65 years) recruited from general community and university populations completed the study. Interventions: data collection proceeded in four counterbalanced test-sessions including control (zero resistance), light (45%VO2max), moderate (60%VO2max), and high intensity (75%VO2max) cycle ergometer interventions. In all test sessions participants cycled at 25 W for 2 min (warm-up), followed by 10 min at the allocated intensity, and then 2 min at 25 W (cool-down). Blood pressure, heart rate and RPE were determined during test sessions. Measures: energetic arousal (EA), tense arousal (TA), single dimension affect, and cognitive (reaction time-RT) responses were compared following physical activity.
Results. There was no significant difference in EA, TA, affect, or RT following zero resistance and light and moderate intensity physical activity or between light and moderate intensity physical activity. High intensity physical activity resulted in significantly lower levels of EA than light intensity physical activity, significantly higher levels of TA than zero resistance and light intensity physical activity, and significantly more negative levels of affect than either light or moderate intensity physical activity. There were no significant differences in reaction time between high intensity physical activity and any of the other intensities.
Conclusions. There was partial support for the efficacy of biopsychological arousal theory in explaining the biopsychological and affective outcomes of physical activity, but no support for the influence of physical activity on cognitive function.

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