Multitasking During Exercise May Ramp Up the Workout

Written by on June 16, 2015 in Exercise and Fitness, Health with 0 Comments

By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe | Live Science

Trying to do multiple things at once can have mixed results; you may accomplish more, or you may not get anything done. When it comes to exercising, though, multitasking may be a good idea, a new study suggests.

In the study of older adults, researchers found that, when people completed easy cognitive tasks while they were cycling on a stationary bike, their cycling speed increased.

The investigators said the results surprised them. “Every dual-task study that I’m aware of shows that, when people are doing two things at once, they get worse” at those tasks, study author Lori Altmann, an associate professor of speech, language and hearing sciences at the University of Florida, said in a statement. “Everybody has experienced walking somewhere in a hurry when the person in front of them pulls out a phone, and that person just slows to a crawl.”

In the study, the researchers looked at 20 healthy adults whose average age was 73, and 28 people with Parkinson’s disease, whose average age was 66. The participants completed 12 cognitive tasks while they were sitting in a quiet room, and then they did the tasks again as they were cycling. The easiest tasks included saying the word “go” whenever a blue star appeared on a projection screen, and the most difficult tasks involved repeating long lists of numbers in the reverse order in which they were given. The researchers recorded the people’s cycling speed using a video motion-capture system.

In the healthy group, the participants sped up by about 25 percent on average when they were doing the easiest tasks. “Some of the people in that group actually doubled their speed during that task,” Altmann told Live Science.


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