The influence of physical fitness and exercise upon cognitive functioning: A meta-analysis

Jennifer L. Etnier, Walter Salazar, Daniel M. Landers, Steven J. Petruzzello, Myungwoo Han, Priscilla Nowell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Nearly 200 studies have examined the impact that either acute or long-term exercise has upon cognition. Subsets of these studies have been reviewed using the traditional narrative method, and the common conclusion has been that the results are mixed. Therefore, a more comprehensive review is needed that includes all available studies and that provides a more objective and reproducible review process. Thus, a meta-analytic review was conducted that included all relevant studies with sufficient information for the calculation of effect size (W = 134). The overall effect size was 0.25, suggesting that exercise has a small positive effect on cognition. Examination of the moderator variables indicated that characteristics related to the exercise paradigm, the participants, the cognitive tests, and the quality of the study influence effect size. However, the most important finding was that as experimental rigor decreased, effect size increased. Therefore, more studies need to be conducted that emphasize experimental rigor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-277
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Mental ability intelligence
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

Cite this