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Comparison of the Effects of Continuous and Intermittent Exercise on Cerebral Oxygenation and Cognitive Function

Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB,volume 1232)


Cognitive function is reported to improve by moderate aerobic exercise. However, the effects of intermittent exercise with rest between the moderate-intensity exercise are unclear. Therefore, this study aimed to compare the effects of continuous and intermittent exercise on cerebral oxygenation and cognitive function. This study included 18 healthy adults. For the continuous exercise protocol, 5 min of rest was followed by 30 min of exercise; 5 min of rest was allowed after each exercise. For the intermittent exercise protocol, 3 sets of 10 min of exercise were completed, with 5 min of rest between the sets. Exercise intensity was 50% of maximum oxygen uptake. Oxyhemoglobin (O2Hb) in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) was measured during each protocol, and cognitive tasks (Stroop test) were performed before and after exercise. O2Hb levels for the left and right PFCs were significantly higher post-exercise than pre-exercise for both exercise protocols (p < 0.01). The average reaction time in the Stroop test was significantly shorter post-exercise than pre-exercise for both protocols (p < 0.01). There was no significant difference in the error rate pre- and post-exercise for both protocols (continuous p = 0.22; intermittent p = 0.44). There was no significant difference between both protocols in all measurement results (O2Hb: p = 0.67; average reaction time p = 0.50; error rate p = 0.24). O2Hb was higher and average reaction time was shorter after exercise than before exercise for both exercise protocols. Intermittent and continuous exercise may improve cognitive function to the same degree after exercise.


  • Intermittent exercise
  • Continuous exercise
  • Cognitive function
  • Oxygenated hemoglobin
  • NIRS

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-34461-0_26
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This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Exploratory Research from the Niigata University of Health and Welfare (A. Tsubaki), Japan.

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Correspondence to Atsuhiro Tsubaki .

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Ichinose, Y., Morishita, S., Suzuki, R., Endo, G., Tsubaki, A. (2020). Comparison of the Effects of Continuous and Intermittent Exercise on Cerebral Oxygenation and Cognitive Function. In: Ryu, PD., LaManna, J., Harrison, D., Lee, SS. (eds) Oxygen Transport to Tissue XLI. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 1232. Springer, Cham.

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