C. Stokesbary1, C. Cuttler1, T. Lowry2,C.P. Connolly1

1Washington State University, Pullman, WA & 2Baylor University, Waco, TX

Prospective memory is the ability to remember to perform a task or action at a future point in time. Everyday examples include remembering to take medication on schedule or to attend a meeting on time. Although an acute bout of exercise has been shown to improve retrospective memory, its impact on prospective memory has never been examined. PURPOSE: The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of acute aerobic or resistance exercise on prospective memory within college-age students. METHODS: Undergraduate students were randomly assigned to one of three groups: 1) treadmill running (R) (n=17), 2) kettlebell resistance exercise (K) (n=15), or 3) sitting (S) (control group) (n=12). As part of a larger study on the effects of exercise on cognition, participants were administered two prospective memory tasks. Specifically, participants were asked to 1) remind the researcher to send an email to his/her supervisor to submit their research participation credits and 2) request a red pen whenever they were asked to write or draw a response. Instructions for each task were administered prior to the exercise or sitting phase of the experiment and participants were expected to execute each of these tasks shortly after the exercise or sitting phase of the experiment (while they were undergoing further cognitive testing). Participants in the R and K groups performed their respective exercises for 20 minutes, and participants assigned to the S group sat for 20 minutes. Heart rates (HR) of the R and K participants, who were asked to exercise at a moderate intensity (50-70% of max HR), were analyzed via HR telemetry. RESULTS: Results showed that 16.7% of participants in the S group completely forgot to give the reminder, 0% of participants in the K group forgot to give the reminder and only 5.9% of participants in the R group forgot to give the reminder. Results were the same for the red pen prospective memory task. Chi-square analysis of the data revealed that these differences were not statistically significant (χ2 (2) = 2.95, p = .23). CONCLUSION: Preliminary findings indicate an acute bout of aerobic or resistance exercise do not have a significant effect on prospective memory performance. However, small sample size may have precluded significance due to low statistical power.

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