Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Sensory and Motor Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 59304

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Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo, School of Sport and Leisure, 4960-320 Melgaço, Portugal
Interests: football; soccer; match analysis; performance analysis; network analysis
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sports and exercise have been related to acute and chronic changes in brain health and function. Regular exercise has been used as a non-pharmacological approach for protecting brain health while improving some brain functions. With benefits oberserved in young and old individuals and healthy and clinical populations, sports and exercise seem to play an important role in contributing to brain health and function. Despite some evidence regarding the contributions of sports and exercise to brain health and function, there is an increasing number of original research papers and systematic reviews with or without meta-analysis that may help professionals to identify which types of sport and exercise are suitable for specific improvements and the adequate duration of carrying out such activities. Additionally, there is space for further analysis of the contribution of sports and exercise to both the improvement of efficiency in work and to the mitigation of the effects of specific neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, the Special Issue “Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise” will include contributions from different areas of knowledge that may asssist in improving our understand ing of the relationships between sports and exercise and brain health and function. Original studies, systematic reviews, and meta-analysis on the following main topics are welcome (but not exclusively): (i) role of exercise in neurodegenerative diseases; (ii) role of sport and exercise in cognitive performance; (iii) role of sport and exercise in brain health; (iv) effects of different sport and exercise modes on brain function and health; and (v) dose–response relationships between exercise and brain health and function. 

Dr. Filipe Manuel Clemente
Dr. Ana Filipa Silva
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • sports
  • exercise
  • physical activity
  • brain health
  • brain function
  • brain activity
  • dose–response relationship

Published Papers (17 papers)

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Research

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12 pages, 2639 KiB  
Article
Can Early Neuromuscular Rehabilitation Protocol Improve Disability after a Hemiparetic Stroke? A Pilot Study
by Mahdi Yazdani, Ahmad Chitsaz, Vahid Zolaktaf, Mohammad Saadatnia, Majid Ghasemi, Fatemeh Nazari, Abbas Chitsaz, Katsuhiko Suzuki and Hadi Nobari
Brain Sci. 2022, 12(7), 816; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12070816 - 22 Jun 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2519
Abstract
Background: The impairment of limb function and disability are among the most im portant consequences of stroke. To date, however, little research has been done on the early reha bilitation trial (ERT) after stroke in these patients. The purpose of this study was [...] Read more.
Background: The impairment of limb function and disability are among the most im portant consequences of stroke. To date, however, little research has been done on the early reha bilitation trial (ERT) after stroke in these patients. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of ERT neuromuscular protocol on motor function soon after hemiparetic stroke. The sample included twelve hemiparetic patients (54.3 ± 15.4 years old) with ischemic stroke (n = 7 control, n = 5 intervention patients). ERTwas started as early as possible after stroke and included passive range of motion exercises, resistance training, assisted standing up, and active exercises of the healthy side of the body, in addition to encouraging voluntary contraction of affected limbs as much as possible. The rehabilitation was progressive and took 3 months, 6 days per week, 2–3 h per session. Fu gle-Meyer Assessment (FMA), Box and Blocks test (BBT) and Timed up and go (TUG) assessments were conducted. There was a significantly greater improvement in the intervention group com pared to control: FMA lower limbs (p = 0.001), total motor function (p = 0.002), but no significant difference in FMA upper limb between groups (p = 0.51). The analysis of data related to BBT showed no significant differences between the experimental and control groups (p = 0.3). However, TUG test showed significant differences between the experimental and control groups (p = 0.004). The most important finding of this study was to spend enough time in training sessions and provide adequate rest time for each person. Our results showed that ERT was associated with improved motor function but not with the upper limbs. This provides a basis for a definitive trial. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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13 pages, 1297 KiB  
Article
Uric Acid and Cortisol Levels in Plasma Correlate with Pre-Competition Anxiety in Novice Athletes of Combat Sports
by Luis Fernando Garcia de Oliveira, Tácito Pessoa Souza-Junior, Juliane Jellmayer Fechio, José Alberto Fernandes Gomes-Santos, Ricardo Camões Sampaio, Cristina Vasconcelos Vardaris, Rafael Herling Lambertucci and Marcelo Paes de Barros
Brain Sci. 2022, 12(6), 712; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12060712 - 31 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3027
Abstract
Pre-competition anxiety is very prevalent in novice athletes, causing stress and drastic decreases in their performances. Cortisol plays a central role in the psychosomatic responses to stress and also in the physiology of strenuous exercise. Growing evidence links uric acid, an endogenous antioxidant, [...] Read more.
Pre-competition anxiety is very prevalent in novice athletes, causing stress and drastic decreases in their performances. Cortisol plays a central role in the psychosomatic responses to stress and also in the physiology of strenuous exercise. Growing evidence links uric acid, an endogenous antioxidant, with oxidative stress and anxiety, as observed in many depressive-related disorders. We here compared anxiety inventory scores (BAI and CSAI-2), cortisol and biomarkers of oxidative stress in the plasma of novice combat athletes (white and blue belts) before and after their first official national competition, when levels of stress are presumably high. Although the novice fighters did not reveal high indexes of anxiety on questionnaires, significant correlations were confirmed between cortisol and cognitive anxiety (Pearson’s r = 0.766, p-value = 0.002, and a ‘strong’ Bayesian inference; BF10 = 22.17) and between pre-post changes of plasmatic uric acid and somatic anxiety (r = 0.804, p < 0.001, and ‘very strong’ inference; BF10 = 46.52). To our knowledge, this is the first study to report such strong correlations between uric acid and pre-competition anxiety in novice combat athletes. The cause-consequence association between these indexes cannot be directly inferred here, although the interplay between uric acid and anxiety deserves further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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15 pages, 3133 KiB  
Article
Acute Effect of a Simultaneous Exercise and Cognitive Task on Executive Functions and Prefrontal Cortex Oxygenation in Healthy Older Adults
by Manon Pellegrini-Laplagne, Olivier Dupuy, Philippe Sosner and Laurent Bosquet
Brain Sci. 2022, 12(4), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12040455 - 28 Mar 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2569
Abstract
The rapid increase in population aging and associated age-related cognitive decline requires identifying innovative and effective methods to prevent it. To manage this socio-economic challenge, physical, cognitive, and combined stimulations are proposed. The superiority of simultaneous training compared to passive control and physical [...] Read more.
The rapid increase in population aging and associated age-related cognitive decline requires identifying innovative and effective methods to prevent it. To manage this socio-economic challenge, physical, cognitive, and combined stimulations are proposed. The superiority of simultaneous training compared to passive control and physical training alone seems to be an efficient method, but very few studies assess the acute effect on executive function. This study aimed to investigate the acute effect of simultaneous physical and cognitive exercise on executive functions in healthy older adults, in comparison with either training alone. Seventeen healthy older adults performed three experimental conditions in randomized order: physical exercise, cognitive exercise, and simultaneous physical and cognitive exercise. The protocol involved a 30 min exercise duration at 60% of theoretical maximal heart rate or 30 min of cognitive exercise or both. Executive functions measured by the Stroop task and pre-frontal cortex oxygenation were assessed before and after the intervention. We found a main effect of time on executive function and all experimental condition seems to improve inhibition and flexibility scores (<0.05). We also found a decrease in cerebral oxygenation (Δ[HbO2]) in both hemispheres after each intervention in all cognitive performance assessed (p < 0.05). Simultaneous physical and cognitive exercise is as effective a method as either physical or cognitive exercise alone for improving executive function. The results of this study may have important clinical repercussions by allowing to optimize the interventions designed to maintain the cognitive health of older adults since simultaneous provide a time-efficient strategy to improve cognitive performance in older adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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13 pages, 1236 KiB  
Article
Changes in Hippocampus and Amygdala Volume with Hypoxic Stress Related to Cardiorespiratory Fitness under a High-Altitude Environment
by Zhi-Xin Wang, Rui Su, Hao Li, Peng Dang, Tong-Ao Zeng, Dong-Mei Chen, Jian-Guo Wu, De-Long Zhang and Hai-Lin Ma
Brain Sci. 2022, 12(3), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12030359 - 8 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2575
Abstract
The morphology of the hippocampus and amygdala can be significantly affected by a long-term hypoxia-induced inflammatory response. Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) has a significant effect on the neuroplasticity of the hippocampus and amygdala by countering inflammation. However, the role of CRF is still largely [...] Read more.
The morphology of the hippocampus and amygdala can be significantly affected by a long-term hypoxia-induced inflammatory response. Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) has a significant effect on the neuroplasticity of the hippocampus and amygdala by countering inflammation. However, the role of CRF is still largely unclear at high altitudes. Here, we investigated brain limbic volumes in participants who had experienced long-term hypoxia exposure in Tibet (3680 m), utilizing high-resolution structural images to allow the segmentation of the hippocampus and amygdala into their constituent substructures. We recruited a total of 48 participants (48 males; aged = 20.92 ± 1.03 years) to undergo a structural 3T MRI, and the levels of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) were measured using a cardiorespiratory function test. Inflammatory biomarkers were also collected. The participants were divided into two groups according to the levels of median VO2max, and the analysis showed that the morphological indexes of subfields of the hippocampus and amygdala of the lower CRF group were decreased when compared with the higher CRF group. Furthermore, the multiple linear regression analysis showed that there was a higher association with inflammatory factors in the lower CRF group than that in the higher CRF group. This study suggested a significant association of CRF with hippocampus and amygdala volume, which may be related to hypoxic stress in high-altitude environments. A better CRF reduced physiological stress and a decrease in the inflammatory response was observed, which may be related to the increased oxygen transport capacity of the body. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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19 pages, 1716 KiB  
Article
Balance Expertise Is Associated with Superior Spatial Perspective-Taking Skills
by Kirsten Hötting, Ann-Kathrin Rogge, Laura A. Kuhne and Brigitte Röder
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(11), 1401; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11111401 - 24 Oct 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2312
Abstract
Balance training interventions over several months have been shown to improve spatial cognitive functions and to induce structural plasticity in brain regions associated with visual-vestibular self-motion processing. In the present cross-sectional study, we tested whether long-term balance practice is associated with better spatial [...] Read more.
Balance training interventions over several months have been shown to improve spatial cognitive functions and to induce structural plasticity in brain regions associated with visual-vestibular self-motion processing. In the present cross-sectional study, we tested whether long-term balance practice is associated with better spatial cognition. To this end, spatial perspective-taking abilities were compared between balance experts (n = 40) practicing sports such as gymnastics, acrobatics or slacklining for at least four hours a week for the last two years, endurance athletes (n = 38) and sedentary healthy individuals (n = 58). The balance group showed better performance in a dynamic balance task compared to both the endurance group and the sedentary group. Furthermore, the balance group outperformed the sedentary group in a spatial perspective-taking task. A regression analysis across all participants revealed a positive association between individual balance performance and spatial perspective-taking abilities. Groups did not differ in executive functions, and individual balance performance did not correlate with executive functions, suggesting a specific association between balance skills and spatial cognition. The results are in line with theories of embodied cognition, assuming that sensorimotor experience shapes cognitive functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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15 pages, 1790 KiB  
Article
Impact of Long-Rope Jumping on Monoamine and Attention in Young Adults
by Masatoshi Yamashita and Takanobu Yamamoto
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1347; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101347 - 13 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2901
Abstract
Previous research has shown that rope jumping improves physical health; however, little is known about its impact on brain-derived monoamine neurotransmitters associated with cognitive regulation. To address these gaps in the literature, the present study compared outcomes between 15 healthy participants (mean age, [...] Read more.
Previous research has shown that rope jumping improves physical health; however, little is known about its impact on brain-derived monoamine neurotransmitters associated with cognitive regulation. To address these gaps in the literature, the present study compared outcomes between 15 healthy participants (mean age, 23.1 years) after a long-rope jumping exercise and a control condition. Long-rope jumping also requires co-operation between people, attention, spatial cognition, and rhythm sensation. Psychological questionnaires were administered to both conditions, and Stroop task performance and monoamine metabolite levels in the saliva and urine were evaluated. Participants performing the exercise exhibited lower anxiety levels than those in the control condition. Saliva analyses showed higher 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (a norepinephrine metabolite) levels, and urine analyses revealed higher 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (a serotonin metabolite) levels in the exercise condition than in the control. Importantly, urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid level correlated with salivary and urinary 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol levels in the exercise condition. Furthermore, cognitive results revealed higher Stroop performance in the exercise condition than in the control condition; this performance correlated with salivary 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol levels. These results indicate an association between increased 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol and attention in long-rope jumping. We suggest that long-rope jumping predicts central norepinephrinergic activation and related attention maintenance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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11 pages, 698 KiB  
Article
Influence of Aerobic Fitness on White Matter Integrity and Inhibitory Control in Early Adulthood: A 9-Week Exercise Intervention
by Hao Zhu, Lina Zhu, Xuan Xiong, Xiaoxiao Dong, Dandan Chen, Jingui Wang, Kelong Cai, Wei Wang and Aiguo Chen
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(8), 1080; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11081080 - 18 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2180
Abstract
Previous cross-sectional studies have related aerobic fitness to inhibitory control and white matter (WM) microstructure in young adults, but there is no longitudinal study to confirm whether these relationships exist. We carried out a longitudinal study comparing aerobic fitness, inhibitory control, and WM [...] Read more.
Previous cross-sectional studies have related aerobic fitness to inhibitory control and white matter (WM) microstructure in young adults, but there is no longitudinal study to confirm whether these relationships exist. We carried out a longitudinal study comparing aerobic fitness, inhibitory control, and WM integrity across time points, before versus after completing an exercise intervention in young adults (18–20 years old) relative to a control group. The exercise group (n = 35) participated in a 9-week exercise protocol, while the control group (n = 24) did not receive any regular exercise training. Behavioral data and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data were collected prior to and following the intervention. After the exercise intervention, aerobic fitness and inhibitory control performance were significantly improved for the exercise group, but not for the control group. Analyses of variance (ANOVA) of the DTI data demonstrated significantly increased fractional anisotropy (FA) in the right corticospinal tract and significantly decreased FA in the left superior fronto-occipital fasciculus in the exercise group after the intervention versus before. The enhanced aerobic fitness induced by exercise was associated with better inhibitory control performance in the incongruent condition and lower FA in the Left superior fronto-occipital fasciculus (SFOF). Regression analysis of a mediation model did not support Left SFOF FA as a mediator of the relationship between improvements in aerobic fitness and inhibitory control. The present data provide new evidence of the relationship between exercise-induced changes in aerobic fitness, WM integrity, and inhibitory control in early adulthood. Longer-duration intervention studies with larger study cohorts are needed to confirm and further explore the findings obtained in this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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10 pages, 1090 KiB  
Article
Pupillometry Reveals the Role of Arousal in a Postexercise Benefit to Executive Function
by Naila Ayala and Matthew Heath
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(8), 1048; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11081048 - 7 Aug 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2404
Abstract
A single bout of aerobic exercise improves executive function; however, the mechanism(s) underlying this improvement remains unclear. Here, we employed a 20-min bout of aerobic exercise, and at pre- and immediate post-exercise sessions examined executive function via pro- (i.e., saccade to veridical target [...] Read more.
A single bout of aerobic exercise improves executive function; however, the mechanism(s) underlying this improvement remains unclear. Here, we employed a 20-min bout of aerobic exercise, and at pre- and immediate post-exercise sessions examined executive function via pro- (i.e., saccade to veridical target location) and anti-saccade (i.e., saccade mirror symmetrical to a target) performance and pupillometry metrics. Notably, tonic and phasic pupillometry responses in oculomotor control provided a framework to determine the degree that arousal and/or executive resource recruitment influence behavior. Results demonstrated a pre- to post-exercise decrease in pro- and anti-saccade reaction times (p = 0.01) concurrent with a decrease and increase in tonic baseline pupil size and task-evoked pupil dilations, respectively (ps < 0.03). Such results demonstrate that an exercise-induced improvement in saccade performance is related to an executive-mediated “shift” in physiological and/or psychological arousal, supported by the locus coeruleus norepinephrine system to optimize task engagement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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12 pages, 1790 KiB  
Article
Regular Vigorous-Intensity Physical Activity and Walking Are Associated with Divergent but not Convergent Thinking in Japanese Young Adults
by Chong Chen, Yasuhiro Mochizuki, Kosuke Hagiwara, Masako Hirotsu and Shin Nakagawa
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(8), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11081046 - 6 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2701
Abstract
The beneficial effects of regular physical activity (PA) on cognitive functions have received much attention. Recent research suggests that regular PA may also enhance creative thinking, an indispensable cognitive factor for invention and innovation. However, at what intensity regular PA brings the most [...] Read more.
The beneficial effects of regular physical activity (PA) on cognitive functions have received much attention. Recent research suggests that regular PA may also enhance creative thinking, an indispensable cognitive factor for invention and innovation. However, at what intensity regular PA brings the most benefits to creative thinking remains uninvestigated. Furthermore, whether the levels of regular PA affect the acute PA effects on creative thinking is also unclear. In the present study, using a previous dataset that investigated the effects of an acute bout of aerobic exercise on creative thinking in healthy Japanese young adults (22.98 ± 1.95 years old) in the year 2020, we tested the association between different intensities of regular PA (i.e., vigorous, moderate, and walking) and creative thinking with the cross-sectional baseline data using multiple linear regression. We also investigated whether regular PA levels were associated with the acute aerobic exercise intervention effects on creative thinking. The results showed that cross-sectionally, the regular PAs were differentially associated with divergent but not convergent thinking. Specifically, whereas the amount of vigorous-intensity PA was positively associated with fluency and flexibility, the amount of walking was positively associated with novelty on the alternate uses test (AUT) measuring divergent thinking. Importantly, the explained variances of fluency, flexibility, and novelty were 20.3% (p = 0.040), 18.8% (p = 0.055), and 20.1% (p = 0.043), respectively. None of the regular PAs predicted convergent thinking (i.e., an insight problem-solving task), nor were they associated with the acute aerobic exercise intervention effects on divergent and convergent thinking. These findings suggest that engaging in regular vigorous-intensity PA and walking may be useful strategies to enhance different aspects of divergent thinking in daily life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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11 pages, 296 KiB  
Article
Higher Handgrip Strength Is Linked to Better Cognitive Performance in Chinese Adults with Hypertension
by Shenghua Lu, Fabian Herold, Yanjie Zhang, Yuruo Lei, Arthur F. Kramer, Can Jiao, Qian Yu, Scott Doig, Jinming Li, Zhe Yan, Jin Kuang, Ting Wang and Liye Zou
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(8), 985; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11080985 - 25 Jul 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3567
Abstract
Objective: There is growing evidence that in adults, higher levels of handgrip strength (HGS) are linked to better cognitive performance. However, the relationship between HGS and cognitive performance has not been sufficiently investigated in special cohorts, such as individuals with hypertension who have [...] Read more.
Objective: There is growing evidence that in adults, higher levels of handgrip strength (HGS) are linked to better cognitive performance. However, the relationship between HGS and cognitive performance has not been sufficiently investigated in special cohorts, such as individuals with hypertension who have an intrinsically higher risk of cognitive decline. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between HGS and cognitive performance in adults with hypertension using data from the Global Ageing and Adult Health Survey (SAGE). Methods: A total of 4486 Chinese adults with hypertension from the SAGE were included in this study. Absolute handgrip strength (aHGS in kilograms) was measured using a handheld electronic dynamometer, and cognitive performance was assessed in the domains of short-term memory, delayed memory, and language ability. Multiple linear regression models were fitted to examine the association between relative handgrip strength (rHGS; aHGS divided by body mass index) and measures of cognitive performance. Results: Overall, higher levels of rHGS were associated with higher scores in short-term memory (β = 0.20) and language (β = 0.63) compared with the lowest tertiles of rHGS. In male participants, higher HGS was associated with higher scores in short-term memory (β = 0.31), language (β = 0.64), and delayed memory (β = 0.22). There were no associations between rHGS and cognitive performance measures in females. Conclusion: We observed that a higher level of rHGS was associated with better cognitive performance among hypertensive male individuals. Further studies are needed to investigate the neurobiological mechanisms, including sex-specific differences driving the relationship between measures of HGS and cognitive performance in individuals with hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
12 pages, 1221 KiB  
Article
Using Brain-Breaks® as a Technology Tool to Increase Attitude towards Physical Activity among Students in Singapore
by Govindasamy Balasekaran, Ahmad Arif Bin Ibrahim, Ng Yew Cheo, Phua Kia Wang, Garry Kuan, Biljana Popeska, Ming-Kai Chin, Magdalena Mo Ching Mok, Christopher R. Edginton, Ian Culpan and J. Larry Durstine
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(6), 784; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11060784 - 14 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3806
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of classroom-based Brain Breaks® Physical Activity Solution in Southeast Asia Singaporean primary school students and their attitude towards physical activity (PA) over a ten-week intervention. A total of 113 participants (8–11 years [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of classroom-based Brain Breaks® Physical Activity Solution in Southeast Asia Singaporean primary school students and their attitude towards physical activity (PA) over a ten-week intervention. A total of 113 participants (8–11 years old) were randomly assigned to either an experimental (EG) or a control group (CG), with six classes to each group; the Brain Breaks® group (EG: six classes) and the Control group (CG: six classes). All EG members participated in a Brain Breaks® video intervention (three–five min) during academic classes and the CG continued their lessons as per normal. The student’s attitudes towards PA in both research conditions were evaluated using the self–reported Attitudes toward Physical Activity Scale (APAS), applied before and after intervention. The effects of the intervention on APAS scores were analysed using a mixed model analysis of variance with Time as within-subject and Group as between-subject factors. The analysis revealed evidence in support of the positive effect of classroom video interventions such as Brain Breaks® on student’s attitudes toward benefits, importance, learning, self-efficacy, fun, fitness, and trying to do their personal best in PA. The Brain Breaks® intervention provided a positive significant impact on students in Singapore. This study also revealed that interactive technology tools implemented into the school curriculum benefit students in terms of health and education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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10 pages, 714 KiB  
Article
Physical Activity and Inhibitory Control: The Mediating Role of Sleep Quality and Sleep Efficiency
by Lin Li, Qian Yu, Wenrui Zhao, Fabian Herold, Boris Cheval, Zhaowei Kong, Jinming Li, Notger Mueller, Arthur F. Kramer, Jie Cui, Huawei Pan, Zhuxuan Zhan, Minqiang Hui and Liye Zou
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(5), 664; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050664 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 4232
Abstract
Objectives: the current study aimed to investigate the relationship between physical activity (PA) level and inhibitory control performance and then to determine whether this association was mediated by multiple sleep parameters (i.e., subjective sleep quality, sleep duration, sleep efficiency, and sleep disturbance). Methods: [...] Read more.
Objectives: the current study aimed to investigate the relationship between physical activity (PA) level and inhibitory control performance and then to determine whether this association was mediated by multiple sleep parameters (i.e., subjective sleep quality, sleep duration, sleep efficiency, and sleep disturbance). Methods: 180 healthy university students (age: 20.15 ± 1.92 years) from the East China Normal University were recruited for the present study. PA level, sleep parameters, and inhibitory control performance were assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index Scale (PSQI), and a Stroop test, respectively. The data were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Results: A higher level of PA was linked to better cognitive performance. Furthermore, higher subjective sleep quality and sleep efficiency were associated with better inhibitory control performance. The mediation analysis revealed that subjective sleep quality and sleep efficiency mediated the relationship between PA level and inhibitory control performance. Conclusion: our results are in accordance with the literature and buttress the idea that a healthy lifestyle that involves a relatively high level of regular PA and adequate sleep patterns is beneficial for cognition (e.g., inhibitory control performance). Furthermore, our study adds to the literature that sleep quality and sleep efficiency mediates the relationship between PA and inhibitory control performance, expanding our knowledge in the field of exercise cognition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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14 pages, 2080 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Acute Aerobic Exercise on Divergent and Convergent Thinking and Its Influence by Mood
by Kohei Aga, Masato Inamura, Chong Chen, Kosuke Hagiwara, Rikuto Yamashita, Masako Hirotsu, Tomoe Seki, Akiyo Takao, Yuko Fujii, Toshio Matsubara and Shin Nakagawa
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(5), 546; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050546 - 27 Apr 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 4218
Abstract
Abundant evidence shows that various forms of physical exercise, even conducted briefly, may improve cognitive functions. However, the effect of physical exercise on creative thinking remains under-investigated, and the role of mood in this effect remains unclear. In the present study, we set [...] Read more.
Abundant evidence shows that various forms of physical exercise, even conducted briefly, may improve cognitive functions. However, the effect of physical exercise on creative thinking remains under-investigated, and the role of mood in this effect remains unclear. In the present study, we set out to investigate the effect of an acute bout of aerobic exercise on divergent and convergent thinking and whether this effect depends on the post-exercise mood. Forty healthy young adults were randomly assigned to receive a 15-min exercise or control intervention, before and after which they conducted an alternate use test measuring divergent thinking and an insight problem-solving task measuring convergent thinking. It was found that exercise enhanced divergent thinking in that it increased flexibility and fluency. Importantly, these effects were not mediated by the post-exercise mood in terms of pleasure and vigor. In contrast, the effect on convergent thinking depended on subjects’ mood after exercise: subjects reporting high vigor tended to solve more insight problems that were unsolved previously, while those reporting low vigor became less capable of solving previously unsolved problems. These findings suggest that aerobic exercise may affect both divergent and convergent thinking, with the former being mood-independent and the latter mood-dependent. If these findings can be replicated with more rigorous studies, engaging in a bout of mood, particularly vigor-enhancing aerobic exercise, may be considered a useful strategy for gaining insights into previously unsolved problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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Review

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13 pages, 675 KiB  
Review
Concurrent Performance of Executive Function during Acute Bouts of Exercise in Adults: A Systematic Review
by Kefeng Zheng, Liye Zou, Gaoxia Wei and Tao Huang
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1364; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101364 - 17 Oct 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2544
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to systematically review the evidence on the effects of an acute bout of exercise on concurrent performance of core executive function (EF) during exercise in adults. Four electronic databases (i.e., PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and SportDiscus) [...] Read more.
The purpose of the study was to systematically review the evidence on the effects of an acute bout of exercise on concurrent performance of core executive function (EF) during exercise in adults. Four electronic databases (i.e., PubMed, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and SportDiscus) were searched from inception dates to 30 December 2020. The literature searches were conducted using the combinations of two groups of relevant items related to exercise and executive function. Articles were limited to human studies in adults. The search process, study selection, data extraction, and study quality assessments were carried out independently by two researchers. A total of 4899 studies were identified. Twenty-two studies met our inclusion criteria. Of the 42 reported outcomes in the 22 studies, 13 (31%) of the 42 outcomes showed that core EF performance was enhanced during exercise and 14 (33%) found that core EF performance did not differ from control conditions. Fifteen (36%) found that core EF performance was impaired. Notably, improved EF performances tend to be observed during moderate-intensity exercise, whereas impaired EF performances were more likely to be observed at vigorous-high intensity. The review suggests mixed findings regarding the effects of an acute bout of exercise on concurrent performance of core EF. Exercise intensity seems to influence the effects. The underlying neural mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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15 pages, 564 KiB  
Systematic Review
Depressive Symptoms and Burnout in Football Players: A Systematic Review
by Hugo Sarmento, Roberta Frontini, Adilson Marques, Miguel Peralta, Nestor Ordoñez-Saavedra, João Pedro Duarte, António Figueiredo, Maria João Campos and Filipe Manuel Clemente
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(10), 1351; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11101351 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5494
Abstract
The purpose of this article was to systematically review and organise the available literature devoted to the topic of depressive symptoms and burnout in football players. A systematic search was conducted in Web of Science, Scopus, SPORTdiscus, PubMed, and Psychinfo for articles published [...] Read more.
The purpose of this article was to systematically review and organise the available literature devoted to the topic of depressive symptoms and burnout in football players. A systematic search was conducted in Web of Science, Scopus, SPORTdiscus, PubMed, and Psychinfo for articles published up to June 2020. The searches yielded 1589 articles, and after the screening process, a total of 18 studies met the eligibility criteria and were included for review. Playing position and conflicts with coach/management seems to have a direct influence on the prevalence of depressive symptoms in current players as do the injuries and life events of former players. During the pre-competition phase, most of the athletes displayed reduced rates, indicating burnout. An exploration of the mental health of football players will help to create models of care and guide professionals so that they may help players achieve better performance while also having better wellbeing. Understanding how to prevent and cope with the emotional wellbeing of football players will be possible to guide players and coaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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28 pages, 3337 KiB  
Systematic Review
Active School Breaks and Students’ Attention: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis
by Álvaro Infantes-Paniagua, Ana Filipa Silva, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, Hugo Sarmento, Francisco Tomás González-Fernández, Sixto González-Víllora and Filipe Manuel Clemente
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(6), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11060675 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 7570
Abstract
School physical activity breaks are currently being proposed as a way to improve students’ learning. However, there is no clear evidence of the effects of active school breaks on academic-related cognitive outcomes. The present systematic review with meta-analysis scrutinized and synthesized the literature [...] Read more.
School physical activity breaks are currently being proposed as a way to improve students’ learning. However, there is no clear evidence of the effects of active school breaks on academic-related cognitive outcomes. The present systematic review with meta-analysis scrutinized and synthesized the literature related to the effects of active breaks on students’ attention. On January 12th, 2021, PubMed, PsycINFO, Scopus, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science were searched for published interventions with counterbalanced cross-over or parallel-groups designs with a control group, including school-based active breaks, objective attentional outcomes, and healthy students of any age. Studies’ results were qualitatively synthesized, and meta-analyses were performed if at least three study groups provided pre-post data for the same measure. Results showed some positive acute and chronic effects of active breaks on attentional outcomes (i.e., accuracy, concentration, inhibition, and sustained attention), especially on selective attention. However, most of the results were not significant. The small number of included studies and their heterogeneous design are the primary limitations of the present study. Although the results do not clearly point out the positive effects of active breaks, they do not compromise students’ attention. The key roles of intensity and the leader of the active break are discussed. INPLASY registration number: 202110054. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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11 pages, 1400 KiB  
Study Protocol
Effects of Open-Skill Exercises on Cognition on Community Dwelling Older Adults: Protocol of a Randomized Controlled Trial
by Wei Guo, Biye Wang, Małgorzata Smoter and Jun Yan
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(5), 609; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050609 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2372
Abstract
(1) Cognitive function may benefit from physical exercise in older adults. However, controversy remains over which mode of exercise is more beneficial. (2) The aim of the proposed study is to investigate the effect of open-skill exercise training on cognitive function in community [...] Read more.
(1) Cognitive function may benefit from physical exercise in older adults. However, controversy remains over which mode of exercise is more beneficial. (2) The aim of the proposed study is to investigate the effect of open-skill exercise training on cognitive function in community dwelling older adults compared with closed-skill exercise, cognitive training, and active control. (3) One hundred and sixty participants, aged between 60 and 80 years old, will be recruited from community senior centers in Yangzhou, China and randomly assigned to one of four groups: open-skill exercise group, closed-skill exercise group, mobile game playing group, and active control group. All participants will join a 24-week program involving 50 min sessions three times a week. The primary outcome measure is visuospatial working memory. Secondary measures include subjective memory complaint, attention network, nonverbal reasoning ability, and physical activities. All participants will be measured before, mid-way, and immediately after intervention, and three months later. (4) If successful, this study is expected to provide evidence-based recommendations for older adults to select the most efficient and effective mode of exercise to improve cognitive function. Importantly, the three intervention groups provide an opportunity to separate the cognitive activity component from the physical activity component. Comparison of these components is expected to help elucidate possible mechanisms contributing to the additional cognitive benefit of open-skill exercises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Function and Health, Sports, and Exercise)
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