Date of Project


Document Type

Honors Thesis

School Name

School of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences


Exercise Science

Major Advisor

Dr. Andrew Carnes

Second Advisor

Dr. Sara Mahoney


Purpose: To determine the effects of a 2 week mindfulness meditation intervention on felt arousal state, perceived exertion, and post exercise affective states in response high intensity interval exercise. Methods: Participants (N = 17, 20.3 ± 1.2 yr) completed baseline exercise testing and were then randomly assigned to a mindfulness meditation treatment group (MF) or a reading active control group (RC). Participants completed two weeks (70 total minutes) of their assigned intervention, then completed the same exercise testing protocol at post testing. Outcome variables assessed were: Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE), Felt Arousal State (FAS), and 7 distinct affective state variables (Positive Well Being, Psychological Distress, Fatigue, Positive Engagement, Revitalization, Tranquility, and Physical Exhaustion). Results: There was a significant reduction (p = 0.031) in the average RPE across 3 intervals (1.2 points) from pre to post intervention in the MF group, but this was not observed in the RC group. The magnitude of increase in psychological distress (PD) from pre to post exercise was reduced in both groups (p = .026) following the intervention, with a similar extent of reduction between groups. Conclusions: The data did not support the hypothesis that the meditation group would experience lower arousal during exercise and more positive affective states after exercise. The reduction in RPE in the MF group should be further investigated and future studies should examine other mindfulness meditation protocols and other forms of high intensity exercise, as the present study cannot encompass all forms of mindfulness meditation or high intensity exercise.

Available for download on Sunday, June 15, 2025