Effect of Aerobic Exercise Training on Mood in People With Traumatic Brain Injury: A Pilot Study

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Exercise training is associated with elevations in mood in patients with various chronic illnesses and disabilities. However, little is known regarding the effect of exercise training on short and long-term mood changes in those with traumatic brain injury (TBI).


The purpose of this study was to examine the time course of mood alterations in response to a vigorous, 12-week aerobic exercise training regimen in ambulatory individuals with chronic TBI (>6 months postinjury).


Short and long-term mood changes were measured using the Profile of Mood States-Short Form, before and after specific aerobic exercise bouts performed during the 12-week training regimen.


Ten subjects with nonpenetrating TBI (6.6 ± 6.8 years after injury) completed the training regimen. A significant improvement in overall mood was observed following 12 weeks of aerobic exercise training (P = .04), with moderate to large effect sizes observed for short-term mood improvements following individual bouts of exercise.


Specific improvements in long-term mood state and short-term mood responses following individual exercise sessions were observed in these individuals with TBI. The largest improvement in overall mood was observed at 12 weeks of exercise training, with improvements emerging as early as 4 weeks into the training regimen.

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