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Inhibitory control during light, moderate and hard exercise intensity levels following mindfulness integrated exercise cognitive training


  • Noah d’Unienville
  • Sabrina Sghirripa
  • Alex Chatburn
  • Philip Temby
  • David Crone
  • Marissa Bond
  • Matthias Schlesewsky
  • Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky
  • Maarten Immink Flinders University



Cognitive Enhancement, Mindfulness, Exercise, Physical Activity, Executive Function, Cognitive Control, Mental Training, Exercise Intensity, Cognition


Evidence suggests that inhibitory control during high intensity exercise is suppressed. Mindfulness and aerobic exercise forms of cognitive training have been shown to enhance inhibitory control and might serve to reduce loss of inhibitory control during high exercise intensity. However, it is unclear whether they may have synergistic effects for cognitive enhancement. Our aims were to investigate effects of exercise intensity on inhibitory control and to test if integrating mindfulness techniques into exercise training provided heightened enhancement of inhibitory control over exercise training alone. Fifty-five active, healthy young adults (30 females; 23 ± 4 years) completed a Go/NoGo task while simultaneously stationary cycling at light, moderate and hard intensities before and after completing multiple brief sessions of cognitive training based on mindfulness and exercise, or exercise alone. A third, control condition completed reading in place of exercise and mindfulness training. Go/NoGo task error rates, response latency and intraindividual variance in response latency did not differ significantly between exercise intensity conditions.  Moreover, there was no significant effect of, or differences between, cognitive training conditions on Go/NoGo task performance. Inhibitory control during exercise is not influenced by exercise intensity, at least at the intensity levels induced in this experiment. Furthermore, exercise and mindfulness + exercise does not appear to lend benefits to inhibitory control in situations where inhibitory control during exercise is already high.


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Author Biography

Maarten Immink, Flinders University

Maarten’s research focuses on neurocognitive processes and training factors contributing to skilled movement learning and performance. In addition, his research investigates how mental training interventions benefit cognitive and affective processes that underlie movement learning and performance, including in sport performance and neurorehabilitation applications.


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