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Psychosom Med. 1987 Jul-Aug;49(4):355-65.

Influence of aerobic exercise training and relaxation training on physical and psychologic health following stressful life events.


An experiment was conducted to determine whether aerobic exercise training or relaxation training would be effective for reducing the deleterious effects of life stress on physical and psychologic health. Over 1000 college students were surveyed, and 55 of those who reported experiencing a high number of negative life events over the preceding year were assigned to an aerobic exercise training condition, a relaxation training condition, or a no-treatment control condition. Physical and psychologic health were assessed with self-report measures before, halfway through, immediately following, and 8 weeks after the 11-week training (and control) period. Heart rate data collected during a treadmill test indicated that the aerobic exercise training was effective for improving cardiovascular fitness. Psychologic measures indicated that the exercise training condition was more effective than the other two conditions for reducing depression during the first 5 weeks of training. No differences were found among the conditions on self-report measures of physical health. These findings suggest that aerobic exercise training may be useful for reducing the severity and duration of depressive reactions following stressful life change.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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