Brain activation, affect, and aerobic exercise: An examination of both state-independent and state-dependent relationships

Authors

  • STEVEN J. PETRUZZELLO,

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    1. Department of Kinesiology, University of Illinois. Urbana. USA
      Dr. Steven J. Petruzzello. Department of Kinesiology. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 906 S. Goodwin Avenue. Urbana. II. 61801. USA. E-mail: petruzze@uiue.edu.
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  • ANDREW K. TATE

    1. Department of Kinesiology, University of Illinois. Urbana. USA
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Dr. Steven J. Petruzzello. Department of Kinesiology. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 906 S. Goodwin Avenue. Urbana. II. 61801. USA. E-mail: petruzze@uiue.edu.

Abstract

Resting electroencephalograph (EEG) asymmetry is a biological marker of the propensity to respond affectively to, and a measure of change in affect associated with, acute aerobic exercise. This study examined the EEG-affect–exercise relationship. Twenty participants performed each of three randomly assigned 30-min conditions: (a) a nonexercise control, (b) a cycling exercise at 55% VO2max, and (c) a cycling exercise at 70% VO2max. EEG and affect were assessed pre- and 0, 5, 10, 20, and 30 min postcondition. No significant results were seen in the control or 55% conditions. In the 70% exercise condition, greater relative left frontal activation preexercise predicted increased positive affect and reduced state anxiety postexercise. Participants (n= 7) with extreme relative left frontal activation post-exercise reported concomitant decreases in anxiety, whereas participants (n= 7) with extreme relative right frontal activation postexercise reported increases in anxiety. These findings (a) replicate prior work, (b) suggest a dose-response intensity effect, and (c) support the idea that exercise is an emotion-eliciting event. Affective responses seem to be mediated in part by differential resting levels of activation in the anterior brain regions. Ongoing anterior brain activation reflected concurrent postexercise affect.

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