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THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS

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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2006 June;46(2):344-51

Copyright © 2006 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

lingua: Inglese

Simple and choice reaction times under varying levels of physical load in high skilled fencers

Mouelhi Guizani S. 1, 2, Bouzaouach I. 1, Tenenbaum G. 3, Ben Kheder A. 4, Feki Y. 5, Bouaziz M. 1

1 Laboratory of Neurosciences, Faculty of Science University El Manar, Tunis, Tunisia 2 Higher Institute of Sport and Physical Education, Tunis, Tunisia 3 Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA 4 Faculty of Medicine, University of Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia 5 Ministry of Sport, Tunis, Tunisia


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Aim. Fencing requires rapid and accurate decision-making while competing and experiencing gradual perceived effort. This study examined the linkage between physical effort, simple reaction time and choice reaction time in fencers and non-fencer subjects.
Methods. Two age-matched groups participated in this experiment: 12 professional fencers and 12 sedentary subjects. Each subject performed both simple (SRT) and choice reaction time (CRT) tasks at rest, and while pedaling on a cycle ergometer at 20%, 40%, 60%, and 80% of their own maximal aerobic power (Pmax).
Results. At rest, no significant differences were found between experts and sedentary subjects neither in SRT nor CRT. The fencers showed shorter CRTs at 40%, 60% and 80% of Pmax compared to those measured at rest. In contrast, SRTs did not vary as a function of effort level. In sedentary subjects, workload did not affect SRTs and CRT. Moreover, the error rate remained stable for each group over all conditions.
Conclusion. Current results showed that physical load results in enhancing information processing as measured by CRT without affecting SRT. The data provides evidence that aerobic exercise enhances attentional capability in fencers who are used to process information under similar physical conditions, but not in sedentary subjects unfamiliar to this environment. Exercise induces arousal that supports alertness to external environmental stimuli in highly trained athletes.

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