No previous studies have evaluated the potential combined effects of acute exercise and acute hypoxia exposure on memory function, which was the purpose of this study. Twenty-five participants (Mage = 21.2 years) completed two laboratory visits in a counterbalanced order, involving 1) acute exercise (a 20-min bout of moderate-intensity exercise) and then 30 min of exposure to hypoxia (FIO2 = 0.12), and 2) exposure to hypoxia alone (FIO2 = 0.12) for 30 min. Following this, participants completed a cued-recall and memory interference task (AB/AC paradigm), assessing cued-recall memory (recall 1 and recall 2) and memory interference (proactive and retroactive interference). For cued-recall memory, we observed a significant main effect for condition, with Exercise + Hypoxia condition having significantly greater cued-recall performance than Hypoxia alone. Memory interference did not differ as a function of the experimental condition. This experiment demonstrates that engaging in an acute bout of exercise prior to acute hypoxia exposure had an additive effect in enhancing cued-recall memory performance.
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