Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 233, Issue 4, pp 1069–1078 | Cite as

The relationship between aerobic fitness and neural oscillations during visuo-spatial attention in young adults

  • Chun-Hao Wang
  • Wei-Kuang Liang
  • Philip Tseng
  • Neil G. Muggleton
  • Chi-Hung Juan
  • Chia-Liang TsaiEmail author
Research Article


While the cognitive benefits of aerobic fitness have been widely investigated, current findings in young adults remain unclear. Specifically, little is known about how these effects are reflected in the time–frequency domain. This study thus assessed the relationship between aerobic fitness and neural oscillations during visuo-spatial attention. A between-subjects design that included 20 participants with higher aerobic fitness (age = 21.95 ± 2.24 years; VO2max = 58.98 ± 6.94 ml/kg/min) and 20 age- and gender-matched lower aerobic fitness participants (age = 23.25 ± 2.07 years; VO2max = 35.87 ± 3.41 ml/kg/min) was used to examine the fitness-related differences in performance and neuroelectric indexes during a Posner visuo-spatial attention paradigm. The results demonstrated that high-fitness participants, in comparison with their low-fitness counterparts, showed faster reaction times as well as greater modulation of oscillatory theta and beta power during target processing, regardless of cue types. Moreover, the neurocognitive correlation showed that higher theta power was related to better task performance. Collectively, these findings suggest that aerobic fitness is associated with general enhanced attentional control in relation to visuo-spatial processing, as evidenced through greater motor preparation and in particular the up-regulation of attentional processing in healthy young adults. The present study may contribute to current knowledge by revealing the relationship between aerobic fitness and modulation of brain oscillations.


Cardiorespiratory fitness Time–frequency analysis Oscillatory brain rhythms Attentional processing 



This work was sponsored by the National Science Council, Taiwan (Grant Numbers: NSC 100-2420-H-179-001-MY3; NSC 100-2410-H-006-074-MY2; NSC 102-2410-H-008-021-MY3).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chun-Hao Wang
    • 1
  • Wei-Kuang Liang
    • 2
  • Philip Tseng
    • 4
  • Neil G. Muggleton
    • 2
    • 3
  • Chi-Hung Juan
    • 2
  • Chia-Liang Tsai
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Lab of Cognitive Neurophysiology, Institute of Physical Education, Health and Leisure StudiesNational Cheng Kung UniversityTainan CityTaiwan, ROC
  2. 2.Institute of Cognitive NeuroscienceNational Central UniversityJhongliTaiwan, ROC
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, GoldsmithsUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  4. 4.Brain and Consciousness Research CenterTaipei Medical University-Shuang Ho HospitalTaipei CityTaiwan

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