Long-term effects of exercise on psychological functioning in older men and women.
The purpose of this study was to determine the psychological, behavioral, and cognitive changes associated with up to 14 months of aerobic exercise training. For the first 4 months of the study, 101 older (greater than 60 years) men and women were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: Aerobic exercise, Yoga, or a Waiting List control group. Before and following the intervention, all subjects completed a comprehensive assessment battery, including measures of mood and cognitive functioning. A semi-crossover design was employed such that, following completion of the second assessment, all subjects completed 4 months of aerobic exercise and underwent a third assessment. Subjects were given the option of participating in 6 additional months of supervised aerobic exercise (14 months total), and all subjects, regardless of their exercise status, completed a fourth assessment. Results indicated that subjects experienced a 10-15% improvement in aerobic capacity. In general, there were relatively few improvements in cognitive performance associated with aerobic exercise, although subjects who maintained their exercise participation for 14 months experienced improvements in some psychiatric symptoms. However, the healthy subjects in this study were functioning at a relatively high level to begin with, and exercise training may produce greater improvements among elderly with concomitant physical or emotional impairments.
Blumenthal, JA; Emery, CF; Madden, DJ; Schniebolk, S; Walsh-Riddle, M; George, LK; McKee, DC; Higginbotham, MB; Cobb, FR; Coleman, RE
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