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Trends Psychiatry Psychother. 2019 Jan-Mar;41(1):36-42. doi: 10.1590/2237-6089-2017-0129. Epub 2019 Feb 4.

The effects of physical activity on anxiety, depression, and quality of life in elderly people living in the community.

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Secretaria Estadual de Saúde do Estado de Mato Grosso, Cuiabá, MT, Brazil.
Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso (UFMT), Cuiabá, MT, Brazil.
Núcleo de Aptidão Física, Informática, Metabolismo, Esporte e Saúde (NAFIMES), UFMT, Cuiabá, MT, Brazil.
Universidade Federal de Uberlândia (UFU), Uberlândia, MG, Brazil.



Health problems may negatively affect the psychological and physical aspects of life, influencing the quality of life of older adults. The objective of this study was to analyze the effects of physical activity on quality of life, anxiety, and depression in the elderly population.


We performed a cross-sectional study of 200 elderly people of both genders. Subjects were divided into two groups: one with 100 senior citizens engaged in physical activities in a social center for the elderly; and another composed of 100 subjects who lived in the community but were not engaged in physical activities. The instruments used to assess physical activities, quality of life, and anxiety and depression were, respectively: the modified Baecke questionnaire; the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36); and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). The data were analyzed using the Student's t test, Pearson's r, and analysis of variance (ANOVA), with odds ratio and a 5% significance level (p<0.05).


We observed that the active group showed higher scores of physical activity and quality of life. Conversely, the sedentary group revealed higher scores of anxiety and depression. Data assessment revealed a strong correlation between the domains quality of life, level of vitality, and mental health (r=0.77). The prevalence ratio showed that physical activity is a protective factor against anxiety and depression in the elderly.


The findings suggest a correlation between low levels of physical activity and symptoms of anxiety and depression in the elderly living in the community.

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