Cox, R. H., Thomas, T. R., & Davis, J. E. (1999). Delayed anxiolytic effect associated with an acute bout of exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31(5), Supplement abstract 1150.

This study tested the hypotheses that (a) state anxiety will fluctuate as a function of exercise intensity/exertion, and (b) that a delayed anxiolytic effect will be observed following an acute bout of exercise. Ss were assigned to either a treadmill or stepper and completed 30 minutes of exercise at an intensity of either 50% or 75% VO2max. Spielberger's STAI was used to assess anxiety before and 5, 60, and 90 minutes after the exercise. RPE was measured at 9, 19, and 29 minutes of the exercise.

At 60 and 90 minutes after exercise, anxiety was significantly reduced -- evidence of a delayed effect. When exercise intensity was replaced in the design with three levels of perceived exertion (low, moderate, and high), significant differences were observed between the high exertion and the other two groupings.

Implication. Relatively high intensity exercise produces a delayed effect of reduced anxiety.

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