We evaluated the effects of exercise on proactive memory interference. Study 1 (n
= 88) employed a 15-min treadmill walking protocol, while Study 2 (n
= 88) included a 15-min bout of progressive maximal exertion treadmill exercise. Each study included four distinct groups, in which groups of 22 participants each were randomly assigned to: (a) exercise before memory encoding, (b) a control group with no exercise, (c) exercise during memory encoding, and (d) exercise after memory encoding (i.e., during memory consolidation). We used the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) to assess proactive memory interference. In both studies, the group that exercised prior to memory encoding recalled the most words from list B (distractor list) of the RAVLT, though group differences were not statistically significant for Study 1 (walking exercise) (p
= 0.521) or Study 2 (high-intensity exercise) (p
= 0.068). In this sample of young adults, high intensity exercise prior to memory encoding showed a non-significant tendency to attenuate impairments in recall attributable to proactive memory interference. Thus, future work with larger samples is needed to clarify potential beneficial effects of exercise for reducing proactive memory interference.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited