20 Minute Workout Increases Cognitive Ability

A new research out of Taiwan suggests that if you do a moderate 20 minute exercise session it can improve cognitive performance. The research looked at how twenty-six healthy young men did on a cognitive ability test after each of three workouts: 10-minute cycle at moderate intensity, 20-minute cycle at moderate intensity and 45-minute cycle at moderate intensity, with each of the rides also having a 5-minute warm-up and followed by a 5-minute cool down. The participants' scores on the cognitive ability test were compared to their performance on the test when they hadn't exercised. Cognitive Ability: The Stroop Test The cognitive ability task that was conducted in this research is what's known as a Stroop test. In it, words representing colors are presented, and the test taker is required to say what color the word is printed in, regardless of what color the word represents. For example, if the word "yellow" is presented in green ink, the correct answer is "green." The Stroop effect describes the phenomenon in which it takes longer or is harder to give the right answer when the word is printed in a different color than the color it names (as in the example above) than when the word and the color it's printed in are the same (for example, if "yellow" was printed in yellow ink). When the participants did the Stroop test after their 20 minute ride, they scored significantly better than when they'd taken it without working out first. The 10 minute and 45 minute workouts, however, had negligible effect on their test performance, as measured by accuracy and speed of response. The workouts in this study were done on a bike and were performed at a [...]