Effect of Supervised Exercise on State Anxiety and Stress

Taupo, Shayne
Harris, Nigel
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Masters of Sport, Exercise and Health
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Auckland University of Technology

Mental health conditions continue to rise, and the treatments currently used, have many negative side effects. Consequently, exercise has emerged as a potential treatment method aimed at improving negative mental health outcomes including anxiety and stress. I therefore sought to determine the effects of such exercise on state anxiety and stress levels over an acute period.

Eighteen personal training clients (Male=12, Female=6) from a private fitness facility agreed to participate. Participants completed between 1 and 3 personal training sessions a week for 6 weeks, inclusive of aerobic and resistance exercises. Quantitative surveys after 1 and 6 weeks of exercise and a qualitative survey was completed after 6 weeks of exercise to determine state anxiety and stress. Effect Sizes (Glass’s Delta 2) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated, along with p value.

Anxiety (1.67 [0.84, 2.49], p=0.01) and stress (1.49 [0.69, 2.26], p=0.02) scores between baseline and week 6 significantly improved (0.32 [-0.30, 0.93], p=0.01). Participants found supervised exercise improved stress and anxiety by holding them accountable and making time for their fitness and health.

Supervised exercise incorporating both aerobic and resistance exercise improved state anxiety and stress over 6 weeks.

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