International Journal of Exercise Science 12(3): 800-810, 2019. Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non-invasive method of measuring electrical activity of the brain during exercise. There is conflicting evidence as to how neural activity changes in relation to incremental exercise testing (IET), or if age has any effect. The purpose of this study was to determine 1) how brain activity changes throughout an IET, and 2) if age affects this response. 13 younger (age: 24.9 ± 2.6 years, 9 males) and 10 middle-aged (49.1 ± 3.2 years, 3 males) recreationally active individuals volunteered for this study. A self-paced, perceptually regulated IET was performed, while subjects wore an EEG electrode strip. Power spectral density (PSD) was calculated; alpha (8-13 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz) activity from the prefrontal and motor cortices was compared to baseline measures. A one-way repeated-measures ANOVA with age as a between-subjects factor was used to determine the effect of test stage and age on PSD. Relative PSD in both the alpha and beta frequency bands increased with exercise intensity. In the prefrontal and motor cortices there was a main effect of stage (both p < .05), and PSD increased markedly at the end of the test. There was no difference between age groups (all p > .05). The lack of a downregulation in neural activity in the final stage of the test is in contrast to some studies but corroborates others. A likely cause for the differences between studies is exercise modality preference. There was no age effect, which may be due to the subjects used (middle-aged regular exercisers).
Maceri, Rachel M.; Cherup, Nicholas P.; and Hanson, Nicholas J.
"EEG Responses to Incremental Self-Paced Cycling Exercise in Young and Middle Aged Adults,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 12
3, Pages 800 - 810.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol12/iss3/13