Effects of Exercise-Induced Changes in Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and Oxygen Saturation on Visual Reaction Time
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
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Physical exertion can influence numerous physiological indicators such as heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation of the blood. Previous studies linking these physiological effects to cognitive performance led us to ask whether physical exertion could cause a decreased state of alertness manifested as a slower reaction time. The purpose of this study is to examine how exercise affects reaction time. This potential correlation between exercise and reaction time would provide important insights into cognitive performance for application in the medical field. The participants performed an electronic reaction test before and after riding a stationary bike for one minute. Their heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation were also recorded both before and after exertion. It was hypothesized that the participants’ average reaction time would be significantly slower after the exercise was performed, leading to a positive correlation between the physiological factors and reaction time. Results from a linear regression analysis did not show a significant relationship between elevated heart rate and reaction time (p-value: 0.5549). Systolic and diastolic blood pressure did not reveal a significant correlation either (p- value: 0.7271, p-value: 0.9394, respectively). Blood oxygen saturation showed a significant p- value of 0.006143, but this is believed to be skewed due to the presence of an outlier. A Welch two sample t-test showed that the sole treatment of exercise had no significant effect on reaction time with a p-value of 0.8943. Further research may examine the significance of a correlation between physical exertion and reaction time.