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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

The Effects of High-Intensity Interval Exercise and Hypoxia on Cognition in Sedentary Young Adults

Faculty of Education, University of Macau, Macao, China
Department of Physical Education, Huzhou University, Huzhou 313000, China
Department of Health, Exercise Science and Recreation Management, School of Applied Sciences, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS 38677, USA
Department of Health Promotion and Physical Education, School of Health Sciences and Human Performance, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Lifestyle (Mind-Body Movement) Research Center, College of Sports Science, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
Sports Science Research Center, Beijing Sport University, Beijing 100084, China
School of Physical Education and Sports, Macao Polytechnic Institute, Macao, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2019, 55(2), 43;
Received: 4 January 2019 / Revised: 7 February 2019 / Accepted: 8 February 2019 / Published: 10 February 2019
PDF [456 KB, uploaded 22 February 2019]


Background and Objectives: Limited research has evaluated the effects of acute exercise on cognition under different conditions of inspired oxygenation. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of high-intensity interval exercise (HIE) under normoxia (inspired fraction of oxygen (FIO2): 0.209) and moderate hypoxia (FIO2: 0.154) on cognitive function. Design: A single-blinded cross-over design was used to observe the main effects of exercise and oxygen level, and interaction effects on cognitive task performance. Methods: Twenty inactive adults (10 males and 10 females, 19–27 years old) performed a cognitive task (i.e., the Go/No-Go task) before and immediately after an acute bout of HIE under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. The HIE comprised 10 repetitions of 6 s high-intensity cycling against 7.5% body weight interspersed with 30 s passive recovery. Heart rate, peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) and rating of perceived exertion were monitored. Results: The acute bout of HIE did not affect the reaction time (p = 0.204, η2 = 0.083) but the accuracy rate decreased significantly after HIE under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions (p = 0.001, η2 = 0.467). Moreover, moderate hypoxia had no influence either on reaction time (p = 0.782, η2 = 0.004) or response accuracy (p = 0.972, η2 < 0.001). Conclusions: These results indicate that an acute session of HIE may impair response accuracy immediately post-HIE, without sacrificing reaction time. Meanwhile moderate hypoxia was found to have no adverse effect on cognitive function in inactive young adults, at least in the present study. View Full-Text
Keywords: cognitive function; Go/No-Go task; reaction time; response accuracy; peripheral oxygen saturation cognitive function; Go/No-Go task; reaction time; response accuracy; peripheral oxygen saturation

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Sun, S.; Loprinzi, P.D.; Guan, H.; Zou, L.; Kong, Z.; Hu, Y.; Shi, Q.; Nie, J. The Effects of High-Intensity Interval Exercise and Hypoxia on Cognition in Sedentary Young Adults. Medicina 2019, 55, 43.

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