Chronic psychological effects of exercise and exercise plus cognitive strategies


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Abstract

BROWN, D. R., Y. WANG, A. WARD, C. B. EBBELING, L. FORTLAGE, E. PULEO, H. BENSON, and J. M. RIPPE. Chronic psychological effects of exercise and exercise plus cognitive strategies. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 27, No. 5, pp. 765–775, 1995. Psychological changes associated with 16-wk moderate and low intensity exercise training programs, two of which possessed a cognitive component, were evaluated. Subjects were healthy, sedentary adults, 69 women (mean age = 54.8 ± 8.3 yr) and 66 men (mean age = 50.6 ± 8.0 yr). Participants were randomly assigned to a control group (C), moderate intensity walking group (MW), low intensity walking group (LW), low intensity walking plus relaxation response group (LWR), or mindful exercise (ME) group-a Tai Chi type program. Women in the ME group experienced reductions in mood disturbance (tension, P < 0.01; depression, P < 0.05; anger, P < 0.008; confusion, P < 0.02; and total mood disturbance, P < 0.006) and an improvement in general mood (P < 0.04). Women in the MW group noted greater satisfaction with physical attributes (body cathexis, P < 0.03), and men in MW reported increased positive affect (P < 0.006). No other differences were observed between groups on measures of mood, self-esteem, personality, or life satisfaction. Equivocal support is provided for the hypothesis that exercise plus cognitive strategy training programs are more effective than exercise programs lacking a structured cognitive component in promoting psychological benefits.

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