Combined effects of electrical muscle stimulation and cycling exercise on cognitive performance

Soichi Ando, Yuka Ishioka, Sari Kambayashi, Kosuke Kano, Mami Fujibayashi, Joseph T. Costello, Mizuki Sudo

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a combination of electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) and cycling exercise is beneficial for improving cognitive performance. Eighteen participants (7 females and 11 males) performed a Go/No-Go task before and 2 min after i) cycling exercise (EX), ii) a combination of EMS and cycling (EMS + EX) and iii) a control (rest) intervention in a randomized controlled crossover design. In the EX intervention, the participants cycled an ergometer for 20 min with their heart rate maintained at ∼120 beats·min-1. In the EMS + EX intervention, the participants cycled an ergometer simultaneously with EMS for 20 min, with heart rate maintained at ∼120 beats·min-1. In the Control intervention, the participants remained at rest while seated on the ergometer. Cognitive performance was assessed by reaction time (RT) and accuracy. There was a significant interaction between intervention and time (p = 0.007). RT was reduced in the EX intervention (p = 0.054, matched rank biserial correlation coefficient = 0.520). In the EMS + EX intervention, RT was not altered (p = 0.243, Cohen’s d = 0.285) despite no differences in heart rate between the EX and EMS + EX interventions (p = 0.551). RT was increased in the Control intervention (p = 0.038, Cohen’s d = −0.529). These results indicate that combining EMS and cycling does not alter cognitive performance despite elevated heart rate, equivalent to a moderate intensity. The present findings suggest that brain activity during EMS with cycling exercise may be insufficient to improve cognitive performance when compared to exercise alone.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1408963
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2024

Keywords

  • cognition
  • voluntary exercise
  • combined stressors
  • combined exercise
  • reaction time

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