Publication Date

Spring 2018

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Steven R. Wininger (Director), Ryan Farmer, and Andrew Mienaltowski

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


The goal of this study was to examine the impact of exercising while completing an academic task on performance on the academic tasks. Participants were 71 undergraduate students at a midsized southern university who were asked to complete reading and math tasks while exercising on a stationary bike. Performance on reading and math tasks completed on the stationary bike was compared within-subjects to performance on parallel tasks while seated. Working memory scores were assessed as potential covariates. Order of experimental tasks was evaluated as a between-subjects factor. Within-subjects ANCOVA’s indicated that performance on math tasks was significantly worse while exercising. However, no significant differences were found between reading tasks completed while seated and reading tasks completed while exercising. Working memory scores were not significant covariates, and order of experimental tasks was not a significant between-subjects factor. Cognitive load differences were assessed for the different experimental tasks. It is believed that variation in cognitive load during different experimental tasks explains the differences in the reading and math results. The findings of this study indicate that future research should focus on varying the difficulty of the tasks.


Education | Kinesiology | Psychology