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Effects of cycling exercise on the soleus H-reflex and state anxiety among men with low or high trait anxiety


Address reprint requests to: Rod K. Dishman, Ph.D., Department of Exercise Science, The University of Georgia, Ramsey Student Center, 300 River Road, Athens, Georgia 30602-6554, USA. E-mail:


The present study examined the effects of low- and high-intensity cycling exercise on the H-reflex and state anxiety among men having low (n=20) or high (n=20) trait anxiety. Participants completed measures of state anxiety and underwent elicitation and recording of the H-reflex in the soleus muscle before and 10 min after three 20-min conditions: (1) quiet rest, (2) cycling at 40% V̇O2peak, and (3) cycling at 70% V̇O2peak. We found that (1) exercise, but not quiet rest, resulted in a reduction of the H-reflex; the magnitude of the reduction did not differ between men having low or high trait anxiety; (2) exercise and quiet rest resulted in similar reductions of state anxiety, and the magnitude of the reductions was larger for men having high trait anxiety than low trait anxiety; and (3) reductions of the H-reflex were unrelated to reductions of self-reported state anxiety across all three conditions. Contrary to prior opinion, the postexercise reduction in the H-reflex reported by previous researchers and in the present study appears to be unrelated to self-reported anxiety after exercise.