Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Exercise and Sport Science

First Advisor

James M. Larkin

Department Affiliation

Exercise and Sport Science

Second Advisor

Jonathan S. Gore

Department Affiliation


Third Advisor

Joel Cormier

Department Affiliation

Exercise and Sport Science


The purpose of this study was to determine if a forty-minute bout of aerobic exercise would decrease the state anxiety and heart rate of college aged individuals. This study was prompted due to the higher levels of anxiety in college aged individuals found in literature (Silva & Tucci, 2018). Specifically, college students need healthy alternatives to cope with their anxiety instead of turning to alcohol. Heightened levels of anxiety in this age range have been shown to increase negative coping habits, such as drinking, drugs, and eating disorders. These negative habits not only affect the individual physically, but also can affect their personal and professional lives. Identifying a healthy and safe coping mechanism is needed to lower the negative coping mechanisms and the harmful effects that coincide with them.

This study consisted of student volunteers (n= 37), between the ages of 18 and 25. All research was conducted during the fall semester of 2019 and examined two specific questions: Will a forty-minute bout of aerobic exercise lower state anxiety; and Is there a correlation between the survey results and heart rate? The study was conducted using the State Trait Anxiety Inventory Y-1 (STAI). Also, an SPO2 monitor was used to obtain accurate heart rates for each subject.

The study found there was a significant difference between the pre and post STAI survey. Both males and females averaged about the same pre and post STAI scores. Heart rate was significantly lower 10 minutes post-exercise than it was pre-exercise. It was hypothesized heart rate would be lower after exercise. Heart rate was taken directly prior to pre and post surveys being administered and directly after exercise. They contributed it to the change in the survey results. It was concluded that heart rate was reduced but did not correlate with the way the questions were answered on the survey.