Effects of acute interval handgrip exercise on cognitive performance

Takuro Washio, Kazuya Suzuki, Shotaro Saito, Hironori Watanabe, Soichi Ando, R. Matthew Brothers, Shigehiko Ogoh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have reported that even a single bout of dynamic exercise improves cognitive performance. However, the acute effect of the interval handgrip (HG) exercise protocol, which is effective in reducing resting blood pressure, on cognitive performance is poorly understood. Cognitive performance was assessed in 17 young healthy subjects before and after a resting control (e.g., time control) and the interval HG exercise (Exercise), which consisted of four trials of 2-min HG exercise at 25% of maximum voluntary contraction with 3-min recovery in between each trial. Mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) and middle cerebral artery blood velocity (MCA V) were measured continuously throughout the experiment. Memory recognition and executive function were assessed using memory recognition and Go/No-Go tasks, respectively. During interval HG exercise, MAP and mean MCA V increased from the resting baseline condition (both P < 0.049) and returned to the resting baseline levels during recovery after the interval HG exercise (both P = 1.000). The reaction time and performance accuracy of the memory recognition task did not change in either the time control condition or Exercise condition (P = 0.514 and P = 0.414 respectively). However, the changes in reaction time of Go/No-Go task from the baseline in Exercise condition was significantly shorter than that in time-control condition (P = 0.004) without affecting performance accuracy (P = 0.482). The results of the present study show that an acute interval HG exercise could improve the processing speed in executive function despite no post-exercise improvement in hemodynamic parameters in young healthy subjects. These findings suggest that the interval HG exercise is a useful exercise mode that can be expected to have a positive effect on the processing speed in executive function regardless of cardiovascular adaptation to exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113327
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Cerebral blood flow
  • Exercise pressor reflex
  • Go/No-Go task
  • Memory recognition task
  • Static exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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