Examining a training effect on the state anxiety response to an acute bout of exercise in low and high anxious individuals
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BACKGROUND: An acute bout of exercise temporarily reduces state anxiety. The current study examined whether these benefits are greater for those with higher levels of anxiety, and whether these benefits are augmented with exercise training. METHODS: Young adults were randomized to either a nine-week moderate-intensity exercise group or an inactive control group. We assessed changes in state anxiety in response to an acute bout of exercise each week. RESULTS: State anxiety reductions following acute exercise increased in the exercise subgroup with high anxiety at baseline as training progressed (p = .029). No training effects were observed for the exercise subgroup with low baseline anxiety (p = .27). LIMITATIONS: A predominantly female sample, a single state anxiety measure post exercise and a non-exercise control group should be addressed in future research. CONCLUSIONS: The results support the use of regular physical activity as a method for managing state anxiety in young adults. In particular, regular physical activity may be especially beneficial for those experiencing higher levels of anxiety.
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