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Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2005 Dec;27(4):266-71. Epub 2005 Dec 12.

Depression, anxiety and quality of life scores in seniors after an endurance exercise program.

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  • 1Psychobiology Department, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. hannakaren@psicobio.epm.br



Mood disorders are a frequent problem in old age, and their symptoms constitute an important public health issue. These alterations affect the quality of life mainly by restricting social life. The participation in a regular exercise program is an effective way of reducing or preventing the functional decline associated with aging. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of fitness-endurance activity (at the intensity of Ventilatory Threshold 1 (VT-1)) in depression, anxiety and quality of life scores in seniors.


The study involved 46 sedentary seniors aged 60-75 (66.97 +/- 4.80) who were randomly allocated to two groups: 1) Control group, which was neither asked to vary their everyday activities nor to join a regular physical fitness program; and 2) Experimental group, whose members took part in an aerobic fitness program consisting of ergometer cycle sessions 3 times a week on alternate days for six months working at a heart rate corresponding to ventilatory threshold (VT-1) intensity. Subjects were submitted to a basal evaluation using the geriatric depression screening scale--GDS, STAI trait/state (anxiety scale) and SF-36 (quality of life scale).


Comparing the groups after the study period, we found a significant decrease in depressive and anxiety scores and an improvement in the quality of life in the experimental group, but no significant changes in the control group.


The data suggest that an aerobic exercise program at VT-1 intensity suffices to promote favorable modifications in depressive and anxiety scores to improve the quality of life in seniors.

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