Short Bouts Of Moderate Exercise Are Linked With Boosting Self Control

Short bouts of moderately intense exercise have been shown to boost self control across a number of studies looking into the impact on physical fitness on higher brain functions. Published studies include the effect of exercise on concentration, decision-making, memory and self-control and participants range from 6-35 years old.

The meta-analysis found that regular exercise appears to have very little impact on higher brain functions, but short bouts of exercise appeared to boost higher brain function for children, adolescents and adults. Self-control is an important attribute for success in social, academic and sporting settings and is particularly significant in weight management. Twelve of the studies analysed the effect of exercise on self control specifically and all results recorded showed a significant positive impact.

Scientists explain that the increased blood and oxygen flow to the pre-frontal cortex in the brain during exercise may be the reason behind these findings.


Verburgh L, Konigs M, Scherder EJA, Oosterlaan J, Physical Exercise and Executive Functions in Children, Adolescents and Adults: A Meta-Analysis, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2013.

About the Author

Job Role Sports Nutritionist and Social Media Coordinator Qualifications Bsc Sport and Exercise Science Steph has a competitive athletic background which spans 19 years. As a child she performed with the English Youth Ballet and had performed on the West End stage by the age of 10. Her enthusiasm for sport and fitness continued to grow as she did, encouraging her to learn more about nutrition and training. She began using her knowledge and personal experience to help others when she began coaching at the age of 16. From here, she went on to study Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Essex during which time she also received the Most Promising Newcomer Award from her University to mark her outstanding contribution to sport. During her first year of study she was introduced to partner stunt acrobatics and artistic gymnastics. After one year of dedicating herself to a lifestyle revolving around her sport, she was training with the best team in the UK who are currently ranked fifth in the world. Steph has worked in both the private and public sector coaching children and adults from grassroot to elite level as well as providing them with cutting edge advice on how to reach their goals. Steph has received awards for her choreography and has competed nationally and internationally meaning that she can back up her scientific knowledge with a wealth of experience. As our resident Sports Nutritionist, Steph is here to provide the most current and evidence based fitness, health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals.
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