The Effects of Combined Physical and Cognitive Training on Inhibitory Control: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Sakshi Dhir, Wei Peng Teo, Samuel R. Chamberlain, Kaelasha Tyler, Murat Yücel, Rebecca A. Segrave

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


While strong inhibitory control is critical for health and wellbeing, there are no broadly applicable effective behavioural interventions that enhance it. This meta-analysis examined the neurocognitive rationale for combined physical and cognitive training and synthesised the rapidly growing body of evidence examining combined paradigms to enhance inhibitory control. Across the research to date, there was a small positive effect (n studies = 16, n participants = 832) of combined training on improving inhibitory control. Sub-group analyses showed small-moderate positive effects when the physical component of the combined training was moderately intense, as opposed to low or vigorous intensities; moderate positive effects were found in older adults, as compared to adolescents and adults; and healthy individuals and those with vascular cognitive impairment, as compared to ADHD, ASD, mild cognitive impairment and cancer survivors. This is the first meta-analysis to provide evidence that combined physical, specifically when moderately intense, and cognitive training has the capacity to improve inhibitory control, particularly when delivered to healthy individuals and those experiencing age-related decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-748
Number of pages14
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Behavioural Interventions
  • Cognitive Training
  • Combined Modality Interventions
  • Exercise
  • Inhibitory Control
  • Meta-analysis
  • Physical Training

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