Dose-response relationship between stair climbing duration and cognitive performance and mood in healthy young adults: A randomised cross-over controlled trial
Previous research indicates that even a single bout of exercise can improve cognitive performance and mood, but this has largely been demonstrated using specialised exercise equipment. Thus, there is need for an intervention that is easily translatable into everyday life. Considering this, the current study used stair climbing as a form of exercise intervention that is easily accessible and has high ecological validity. Building on recent evidence that stair climbing has positive effects on cognitive performance and mood, in the current study we sought to investigate a potential dose-response relationship between stair climbing duration and cognitive performance and mood, using a controlled randomised cross-over design. Thirty-six participants (mean age = 19.72 ± 2.20 years) attended three sessions: control, 3 stair climb and 6 stair climb. The stair climb sessions differed in the duration of exercise. During the 3 stair climb session participants completed 3 × 1 min stair climbing whereas for the 6 stair climb session participants completed 6 × 1 min stair climbing, with 45 s rest (walking) in between the intervals during both sessions. Participants completed cognitive tests (Pro, Anti, Pro/Anti) and visual analogue mood scales during each session, either after exercise during the stair climb sessions, or without exercise during the control session. Regarding cognitive performance, consistent with our hypothesis, we found a main effect of session, with the pattern of overall cognitive performance consistent with a dose- response relationship. Additionally, performance on the Pro/Anti task showed a dose- response pattern, with tendencies for better performance during the 6 stair climb session compared to 3 stair climb session. Mood benefits were limited and for the most part did not show dose-response relationships, although participants reported feeling more energetic post the 6 × 1 stair climbing protocol. Overall, the findings suggest that 6 stair climbing intervals is more beneficial than 3 stair climbing intervals, and stair climbing can be used as an effective intervention to improve cognition and mood.
Advisor: Machado, Liana
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Department of Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Exercise; cognition; mood
Research Type: Thesis