Pupil size during exercise predicts brain boost

The effects of light exercise – such as yoga or walking – on executive function have been explored by examining pupil size

A woman is seated cross legged on the floor in sports clothes with her hands in the prayer position
Pixabay/Irina L
Japanese researchers have examined how pupil size during light exercise is linked to changes in prefrontal cognition.

Writing in NeuroImage, scientists from the University of Tsukuba outlined an experiment that tested whether changes in pupil size during very light exercise could predict improvement in prefrontal executive function after a single exercise session.

A group of 34 young adults performed light exercise for 10 minutes with a series of pupil measurements taken before, during and after exercise.

The same pupil measurements were also taken over a 10-minute rest period. The participants also completed an executive function test.

The researchers found that pupils dilated during exercise – and the extent of this dilation was linked to subsequent improvement in executive function.

The findings suggest “pupillometry may be a useful tool to interpret the beneficial impact of exercise on boosting cognition,” the authors highlighted.