State Anxiety Following Resistance Exercise: The Role of Gender and Exercise Intensity

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Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effect of resistance exercise on state anxiety. In experiment 1, participants engaged in three 20-min bouts of resistance exercise, with intensity set as a function of perceived exertion. Results indicated that the relationship between resistance exercise and anxiety was moderated by both exercise intensity and gender. Although females reported no change in anxiety, males reported an increase in anxiety following moderate- and high-intensity exercise, and a decrease in anxiety following low intensity exercise. Experiment 2 was designed to replicate these findings utilizing a more precise manipulation of exercise intensity. Results indicated that the change in anxiety was again moderated by exercise intensity but was unaffected by gender. Both males and females reported increases in anxiety following 20 min of high-intensity exercise (75-85% of 1 RM), as well as significant decreases in anxiety following low-intensity exercise (40-50% of 1 RM).

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