Comparison of anxiolytic effects of acute exercise in older versus younger adults

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Although the anxiolytic effect of acute exercise is well established, there is little understanding regarding whether this effect differs across age. The purpose of this investigation was to compare anxiolytic effects of acute exercise in older versus younger volunteers. Older (n = 32, aged 59-75 years) and younger (n = 45, aged 18-30 years), aerobically fit volunteers were assessed. On 3 consecutive days, participants ran/walked for 60 min at 65% to 75% of heart-rate reserve. The Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (Form Y1) was administered 5 min before and 20 min after each exercise bout. Mean state anxiety before and after exercise was analyzed by repeated measures age-by-gender-by-time ANOVA. A significantly greater anxiolytic effect of exercise in the older versus younger participants was found for the mean data (p <.001), as well as each of the 3 individual days. The results suggest greater anxiolytic effects of vigorous acute exercise in older compared to younger adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-260
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Age
  • Anxiety reduction
  • Physical activity
  • STAI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology

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