Mastrocola, M. R., Bixby, W. R., & Hall, E. E. (2013). Effects of acute exercise on retention and learning. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 2376.

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This study investigated how reading during exercise affects retention and learning. Female college students (N = 11) read a chapter from a nutrition textbook during two separate 30-minute sessions of elliptical exercise or sitting. Ss were asked to exercise at an intensity that corresponded to a 12-14 (moderate to hard) rating on a perceived exertion scale. After the session, Ss completed a short examination on the reading and then returned 24 hours later to take a second examination on the material. Each examination consisted of 15 multiple-choice and true/false questions. The order of exercise and sitting was counterbalanced and Ss were randomly assigned one of three possible chapters for each session.

There was a significant Day x Time interaction. Ss did better immediately following the quiet rest (10.36) when compared to exercise (9.18). That difference dissipated 24 hours later for sitting (9.0) and exercise (9.6).

Implication. Reading while sitting quietly appears superior to reading while exercising for retention performance immediately after the session. However, 24 hours after the initial testing difference was revealed, that difference had dissipated.

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