Date Presented

Spring 5-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Exercise Physiology

First Advisor

Jill Lucas, PhD

Second Advisor

Steve Smith, EdD, CSCS, RSCC, USAW

Third Advisor

Nancy Cowden, PhD


The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects that varying aerobic exercise intensity levels have on acute state anxiety. Previous studies have shown contrasting results for the most beneficial exercise intensity when attempting to decrease state anxiety, and this study adds to the knowledge we have on this topic matter. In this experiment, participants completed two exercise sessions where they engaged in 10 minutes of aerobic activity on a treadmill. The exercise sessions tested one of two exercise intensities: light or vigorous. The intensity levels were achieved and monitored by calculating each subjects heart rate reserve and using the corresponding ACSM intensity percentages for heart rate. The subject’s completed State-Trait Anxiety Inventories pre-exercise, 5 minutes post-exercise, and 30-minutes post-exercise so the change in state anxiety based on exercise intensity could be measured. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Lynchburg closed, and data collection ceased before completion. Statistics, and all results discussed from this research study include only the seven trials of low-intensity aerobic activity that were able to be conducted and how they affect the subject’s state and trait anxiety levels. Data was analyzed using t-tests and repeated measures ANOVAs to measure the effects over time. The t-test and repeated measures ANOVA for state anxiety did not show significant results, while the ANOVA for trait anxiety did yield significant results over time. A post-hoc test was run for trait anxiety but did not show significance in any particular time range. Sample size and extraneous variables are potential limitations, and it is encouraged that future researchers complete the study as outlined in the methods section. Overall, this data will be beneficial to future research conducted on exercise intensity’s effect on state and trait anxiety, and it has added to the preexisting body of work.