Executive function improves following acute exercise in adults with down syndrome

Shannon Ringenbach, Nathanial Arnold, Brandon Myer, Claire Hayes, Kahyun Nam, Chih Chia Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The influence of exercise on brain function is an important topic, especially in persons with intellectual deficits. The aim of this study is to determine the effect of an acute bout of resistance training (RT) compared to assisted cycle therapy (ACT) and no training (NT) in adults with DS on cognitive function. Fourteen participants attended four sessions: a baseline assessment, an assisted cycling therapy (ACT) session, a resistance training (RT) session, and a session of no training (NT). In the RT session, the leg press, chest press, seated row, leg curl, shoulder press, and latissimus pulldown were performed. The ACT session consisted of 30 min of cycling and in NT session consisted of 20 min of board games. Inhibition was measured by the Erikson flanker task and cognitive planning was measured by the Tower of London test and both were administered prior to (pretest) and after each intervention (posttest). Our results showed that inhibition time improved more following RT and ACT than NT. There was also a significant difference between ACT and NT. For cognitive planning, improvements were seen following ACT and NT. In conclusion, an acute session of ACT demonstrated a significant trend towards improvements in executive functions in adults with DS which we interpreted using a model of neural changes and the cognitive stimulation hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number620
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2021


  • Cognitive function
  • Cycling
  • Intellectual disability
  • Physical activity
  • Weight training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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