Background: To investigate the effect of preceding acute exercise on the peripheral vascular response to a mental task, we measured splanchnic and cerebral blood flow responses to performing a mental task after exercise and resting. Methods: In the exercise trial, 11 males exercised for 30 min on a cycle ergometer with a workload set at 70% of the age-predicted maximal heart rate for each individual. After a 15-min recovery period, the subjects rested for 5 min for pre-task baseline measurement and then performed mental arithmetic for 5 min followed by 5 min of post-task measurement. In the resting trial, they rested for 45 min and pre-task baseline data was obtained for 5 min. Then mental arithmetic was performed for 5 min followed by post-task measurement. We measured the mean blood velocity in the middle cerebral artery and superior mesenteric artery and the mean arterial pressure. Results: Mean arterial pressure and mean blood velocity in the middle cerebral artery were significantly higher than the baseline during mental arithmetic in both exercise and resting trials. Mean blood velocity in the middle cerebral artery during mental arithmetic was greater in the control trial than the exercise trial. Mean blood velocity in the superior mesenteric artery showed no significant change during mental arithmetic from baseline in both trials. Conclusion: These results suggest that acute exercise can moderate the increase in cerebral blood flow induced by a mental task.
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