Acute physical exercise intensity, cognitive inhibition and psychological well-being in adolescent physical education students

  • Diego PastorEmail author
  • Eduardo Cervelló
  • Fernando Peruyero
  • Stuart Biddle
  • Carlos Montero


Cognitive function and psychological well-being are two variables related to mental health. Several studies have shown that these variables are sensitive to acute physical exercise, but it is not known which doses of exercise are the most adaptive. To explore this issue, 35 adolescents performed three sessions of physical education with different intensities: no-exercise, light/moderate exercise, and moderate/vigorous exercise, controlling intensities with accelerometers. Stroop test and well-being questionnaires were used before and after each session. The repeated measures design showed that cognitive inhibition was significantly higher after physical exercise sessions than in the non-exercise session, with no differences between the exercise intensity conditions. Vitality increased only in the non-exercise session and positive affect increased and negative affect decreased after the light/moderate physical exercise session only. These results show that including physical exercise prior to performing tasks that require high cognitive inhibition may be a useful strategy to improve cognitive performance.


Adolescence Cognitive inhibition Well-being Acute physical exercise 


Funding Information

Spanish Government: Ministerio de Economía y Empresa. Convocatoria Retos. RTI2018–098335-B-I00.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sport SciencesMiguel Hernández UniversityElcheSpain
  2. 2.Institute for Resilient RegionsUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia

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