Several factors are known to contribute to cognitive functioning. According to Lowry, Sallinen, and Janicke (2007), weight issue as a result of lack of physical exercise is associated within disjoint in attention (Lowry, Sallinen & Janicke, 2007). In most instances, human being is in a position to control some the external factors that determine the level of cognitive functioning. However, what about some external factors such as physical exercise? Is it possible to improve on the capability to learn and remain attentive basically by frequently doing physical exercise?
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The primary theory which explains how physical exercise influences cognitive functioning is the metabolic theory. The research conducted by Zaccagni et al. (2014) suggests that physical exercise is important in regulating the body functioning through eliminating toxic substances that interfere with the body functioning. The research revealed that lack of physical exercise might contribute to depression, obesity, weak muscles, and general imbalance in the coordination between the brain and other parts of the body.
The limited research on how exercise change cognitive functioning leaves a research gap that need to be filled through further research. To begin which, the available research was focused on the aspect of exercise and general cognitive functioning without specific focus on the attention (Andrea et al., 2014). Therefore, this research paper will attempt to establish the link between exercise and cognitive functioning in terms of attention.
The scope of this research paper is to establish the explicit relationship between exercise and cognitive functioning in terms of attention within three high education institutions in Oklahoma.
The primary objective of the research is to establish the link between exercise and variables such as attention as cognitive function. Besides, the research will establish the magnitude of the relationship between exercise and the two cognitive functions.
Research question and hypothesis
The research question is;
- What is the relationship between exercise and cognitive functioning?
- The research hypothesis for this study is;
- Null hypothesis: Young adults who do exercise have strong cognitive functioning.
- Alternative hypothesis: Young adults who do not do exercise have poor cognitive functioning.
Relevance of the study
The findings of the study will help psychological counselors understand the dynamics in relating exercise to cognitive functioning. The findings will also help the stakeholders to understand how external environmental factors are important in boosting cognitive functioning. This means that the findings might be used in developing guidelines for promoting cognitive functioning in the form of physical exercise programs.
Good physical exercise has the potential of regulating fats in the body, thus reducing instances of obesity. Obesity is a health concern which is characterized by excessive accumulation of body fat that negatively affects the health of a person (Franklin, Deyner, Steinbeck, Caterson, & Hill, 2006). Obesity is considered as the key cause of other health disorders such as heart diseases, cancers and diabetes among others. In a research done by Schuna, Johnson, and Tudor-Locke (2013), it was established that cases of obesity have significantly increased. This is a health disorder that is caused by consumption of a high fat diet.
Obesity arises when the weight of an individual increases to the point above a body mass index of approximately 28. When an individual consumes food that has a higher amount of fat, then he or she is likely to gain weight. The primary cause of obesity is lack of regular physical exercise while consuming a lot of fatty food. Obesity is considered as the key cause of other health disorders such as heart diseases, cancers and diabetes among others. Since physical exercise aids in burning the excess fats that are associated with obesity, it is has the potential of keeping the body healthy through balancing the amount of fat that is stored in the body (Franklin et al., 2006).
According to Zaccagni et al. (2014), physical exercise is significant in balancing the body composition to ensure that excessive fats are eliminated from the body in a continuous process. In an experiment which was carried out among Italian university students, the authors established that physical exercise reduces case of obesity by 70% since it keeps the activities of the body at optimal performance level. In a rejoinder, Franklin (2006) observed in a similar experiment among college students that physical exercise is important in balancing the body mass index since elimination of excess fats translates into physical fitness. This is an indication that lack of physical exercise among college students in a threat towards possibility of being obese.
The participants in the study were thirty students in three higher education institutions within Oklahoma with equal gender representation. Potential respondents who were sick were excluded from the exercise.
Alertness and learning capabilities were reviewed via the electrode brain activity measurement technique that has 20 lines of 19 numbers for each line. Within six minutes, each respondent was requested to correctly pick pair of numbers totaling to 20. The score were then computed in terms of percentage of the right pairs for the possible 100 alternatives. The scores were computed in terms of how long a respondent was able to pair the numbers or give up.
Before commencement of the research, each respondent was furnished with an informed consent letter highlighting terms for participation, privacy, and scope of the research. The respondents were alerted that all correspondence will be via telephone interview. The respondents were then randomly assigned a matched-triplets design to balance any imbalance in the cognitive ability. The test was carried out for four days. During the first day, the respondents were subjected to 30 minutes long exercise and then tested after a 20 minutes break. On the second day, the respondents were not subjected to exercise before proceeding with the test. The procedure on day 1 and day 2 were repeated on day 3 and day 4, respectively.
The dependent variable was attention while the independent variable was exercise. In order to quantify the relationship between the independent and dependent variable, ANOVA was essential in the tabular representation of correlation analysis.
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The data gathered from the respondents is summarized in the table below.
|Learning Institution||Population||Male participants||Female participants|
A multivariate analysis was used to test the relationship between exercise and cognitive functioning. The three groups that were analyzed are A, B, and C. The table presented below gives information on the level of cognitive functioning and exercise as established by the test.
Results of the ANOVA analysis
|Variable||F-ratio||Degrees of freedom||P-value|
|Analysis of the indicators|
In the table above, the F-value is 4.21 while the P-value is 0.001, in terms of optimal cognitive functioning. It was apparent that day 1 and day 3 (when respondents were subjected to exercise) recorded higher cognitive functioning than day 2 and day 4 (when respondents were not subjected to exercise). Thus, it can be concluded that exercise has an impact on cognitive functioning. From the above analysis, the findings answer the research question which is the relationship between exercise and cognitive functioning. Apparently, exercise was determined as greatly affecting cognitive functioning (Reimers, Knapp, & Reimers, 2012).
Andrea, S, Mathias, A., & Helmut, F. (2014). Low and decreasing self esteem during adolescence predict adult depression two decades later. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106(6), 325-338.
Franklin, J., Deyner, G., Steinbeck, S., Caterson, D., & Hill, A. (2006). Obesity and risk of low self-esteem: a statewide survey of Australian children. Journal of Pediatrics, 118(2), 2481–2487.
Lowry, K., Sallinen, B., & Janicke, D. (2007). The effects of weight management programs on self-esteem in pediatric overweight populations. Journal of Pediatric psychology, 32(10), 1179-1195.
Reimers, C., Knapp, G., & Reimers A. (2012). Does physical activity increase life expectancy? A review of the literature. Journal of Aging Research, 1(1), 108-117.
Schuna, J., Johnson, W., & Tudor-Locke, C. (2013). Adult self-reported and objectively monitored physical activity and sedentary behavior: NHANES 2005–2006. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10(126), 413-419.
Zaccagni, L., Barbieri, D., & Gualdi-Russ, E. (2014). Body composition and physical activity in Italian university students. Journal of Translational Medicine, 12 (13), 238-244.