Evaluating the efficacy of an iPad® app in determining a single bout of exercise benefit to executive function.
Tari B., Heath M.
We examined the efficacy and feasibility of an iPad® app used at-home in identifying a postexercise benefit to executive function. The iPad® app required simple reaching movements mirror-symmetrical to an exogenously presented target (i.e., antipointing) and is a task that lab-based behavioral and neuroimaging work has shown to provide a valid measure of the response inhibition component of executive function. Fifty English-speaking individuals (18 female, age range 18-26 years of age) completed the iPad® app before and immediately after a 20-min session of heavy-intensity aerobic exercise, and on a separate day completed the app prior to and following a 20-min non-exercise control condition. Results showed antipointing reaction times (RTs) in the exercise condition decreased by an average of 18 ms postexercise (p < 0.001) with an observed large effect size (dz = 0.90), whereas control condition pre- and post-assessment RTs did not reliably differ (p = 0.12, dz = 0.22) and were within an equivalence boundary (p < 0.005). Further, pre-assessment exercise and control condition antipointing RTs were within an equivalence boundary (p < 0.05). Accordingly, a simple iPad® app provides the requisite resolution to detect subtle executive function benefits derived from a single bout of exercise.