Brief Aerobic Exercise Increases Mathematical Ability in Undergraduate Students
Journal of Advanced Student Sciences (JASS)
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Aerobic fitness has been associated with improved mental function, psychological outlooks and decreased stress. Our study looked at the ability of participants to improve in performance on mathematical and memory tests after a short period of aerobic exercise. Participants were asked to bicycle until they reached a perceived exertion of six or seven on the Borg activity scale which corresponds to a moderate to high level of activity. Following the exercise, participants performed a math and memory test. Electroencephalogram (EEG) power data, heart rate, and oxygen saturation level were recorded during the experiment. We found statistically significant improvement in performance on the mathematical test. There was also a slight, but not significant, decrease in the success of the memory test. There was a statistically significant relationship between theta waves and mathematical test accuracy, but no conclusions can be drawn due to the small number of participants, and variable EEG data. These trends showcase there may be a relationship between exercise and math, but more research needs to be conducted to reach a conclusion.