Acute High-Intensity Interval Exercise Improves Inhibitory Control Among Young Adult Males With Obesity

Chun Xie, Brandon L. Alderman, Fanying Meng, Jingyi Ai, Yu Kai Chang, Anmin Li

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13 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of the present study was to examine the influence of acute high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) on neural and behavioral measures of inhibitory control in young male adults with obesity. Design: The present study employed a within-subjects design. Methods: Sixteen male adults with obesity [body mass index (BMI) > 28 kg/m2] were recruited. Reaction time and response accuracy of the Flanker task as well as P3 and late positive potential (LPP) components of the event-related potential (ERP) were measured following HIIE and a sedentary control, in counterbalanced order. The HIIE session consisted of 30 min of stationary cycle exercise (5-min warm-up, 20-min HIIE, and a 5-min cool-down), whereas the control condition consisted of a time and attention-matched sedentary resting session. Results: Faster response times were observed following HIIE regardless of Flanker task condition. Faster and more accurate responses were also observed for congruent relative to incongruent conditions across both sessions. Relative to the neuroelectric data, acute HIIE resulted in increased LPP amplitude but did not affect P3 amplitude. Conclusion: Collectively, a single bout of HIIE has a general beneficial effect on basic information processing and inhibitory control among young adult males with obesity. Acute HIIE was found to impact LPP amplitude, but not the P3, which may suggest a modulation in the ability to successfully maintain attention and filter irrelevant information to achieve successful cognitive inhibition. Future research is warranted to extend these findings to a larger sample size that includes both genders, other cognitive functions, and a comparison of different modes of exercise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1291
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - Jun 25 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


  • HIIE
  • LPP
  • P3
  • executive function
  • inhibitory control
  • obesity


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