Send to

Choose Destination
Stress. 2011 Jul;14(4):439-47. doi: 10.3109/10253890.2011.557109. Epub 2011 Mar 27.

The effects of exercise withdrawal on mood and inflammatory cytokine responses in humans.

Author information

Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK.


Mechanisms underlying the relationship between exercise and mood are not well understood. This study sought to investigate the role of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and autonomic balance in determining the impact of exercise withdrawal on negative mood. Healthy men and women who regularly exercised (N = 26, mean age = 25.5 years, SD = 4.5 years) were randomised to exercise withdrawal or exercise maintenance for 2 weeks. Protocol adherence was monitored using accelerometers. Inflammatory markers from plasma (interleukin-6, IL-6; tumour necrosis factor-alpha; interleukin-10; and interleukin-1 receptor antagonist), heart-rate variability (HRV) and measures of mood (General Health Questionnaire-28 (GHQ) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS)) were assessed at study entry and at 2-week follow-up. Exercise withdrawal resulted in significant increases in negative mood over time on both the GHQ (p = 0.028) and the POMS (p = 0.005). Following the intervention, IL-6 concentration was lower in the exercise withdrawal than exercise maintenance condition (p = 0.05). No intervention effects were observed for other cytokines or HRV. The mood changes were significantly related to changes in IL-6 concentration (β = - 0.50, p = 0.011), indicating that reduction in IL-6 was related to increased negative mood. Our results are consistent with positive effects of exercise on mental health, but further research on inflammatory pathways is warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center