Walking Does Not Significantly Improve Word Recall or State Anxiety in a Single Session: A Pilot Study

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Montana State University Billings


Research suggests that exercise can improve memory ability (Labban & Etnier, 2011; Martins et al., 2013; Shih, 2017; Standage, 2010) and decrease anxiety (Blacklock et al., 2010; Knapens et al., 2009). The current study hypothesized that an exercise condition will recall more vocabulary words and have greater reductions in state anxiety compared to the sedentary control condition. Participants were randomly divided into either a sedentary control group or an exercise group. Both groups took the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory questionnaire (STAI-AD). Both groups were then given ten minutes to learn15 vocabulary words while either sitting in a chair or walking on a treadmill at 3mph, followed by a 20-minute consolidation period. Participants were asked to recall as many words as they could remember from their task and took the STAI-AD a second time. Paired t-tests were performed for analyzing the reduction in state anxiety and amount of words recalled in both conditions. The pilot results showed the exercise group (n=4) did not remember more vocabulary words compared to the control group (n=2; t = 0.4078, p-value = 0.749). The exercise group did show greater reductions in state anxiety compared to the control group (t = 1.1847, p-value = 0.4298). However, both analyses returned statistically insignificant results due to small sample sizes. Further data will be collected to obtain statistical significance and retest the hypothesis.




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