Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S.E.S. in Exercise Science


Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management

First Advisor

Jeremy P. Loenneke

Second Advisor

Paul Loprinzi

Third Advisor

Alberto Jose Del Arco

Relational Format



The production and utilization of lactate has been suggested as a potential mechanism to increase interference control, a core executive function. Although blood flow restricted exercise has been shown to acutely increase blood lactate concentration, the effect of this exercise on interference control is unknown. Higher intensity exercise tends to have a greater benefit on interference control, but this is not always the case, which may be due to an increase in body temperature. Cooling may prevent this elevation and reinforce the exercise-induced benefit on interference control. The purpose of this thesis was twofold: 1) to evaluate the effect of acute interval exercise with and without blood flow restriction and cooling on interference control and 2) to evaluate whether changes in blood lactate mediate changes in interference control. 85 participants (44 males, 41 females; 22 ± 3 years) completed all 6 visits. The initial visit consisted of paperwork and familiarization with the cognitive task and the VasperTM exercise device. For the rest of visits, participants completed 5 separate exercise conditions, including non-exercise control (Con), exercise only (Ex), exercise with blood flow restriction (ExB), exercise with cooling (ExC), and exercise with blood flow restriction and cooling (ExBC) in random order. The measurement of lactate, and the Stroop Color Word Test was performed before and after the exercise protocol. The protocol consisted of 5 minutes of warmup, 10 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, and five 20 second sprints separated by 40 seconds of light exercise. Bayes Factors (BF10) quantified evidence for or against the null. The MEMORE macro was used for within subject statistical mediation with the threshold for statistical significance being set at p ≤ 0.05. Bayesian pairwise comparisons found that only ExC [σ: -0.37 (-0.59, -0.15)] and ExBC [σ: -0.3 (-0.53, -0.09)] produced changes in incongruent reaction time different from that of Con. There was also evidence that all exercise conditions produced blood lactate (BF10 = 8.65e+29 – 1.9e+32) and congruent reaction time (BF10 = 4.01 – 15.371) different from that of Con. Mediation analysis did not find evidence that changes in lactate mediated the change in incongruent reaction time. Our results found that exercise with cooling and exercise with blood flow restriction and cooling both saw favorable changes in incongruent reaction time (a marker of interference control), which might not be explained by the changes in systemic blood lactate. Given that both favorable conditions included cooling, it would be worth further exploring the cooling aspect of VASPER technology. Future work could also potentially investigate the use of relative pressure for the blood flow restriction. It is possible that applying a more uniform pressure to each individual might further improve this marker of executive function.

Available for download on Thursday, August 15, 2024