Science of Exercise and Happiness

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The relationship is strong but complicated – it’s not as simple as exercise = happiness.

The Role of Depression in Short-Term Mood and Fatigue Responses to Acute Exercise

Authors explored the differing impact of one-time, high-intensity exercise on sedentary exercisers and sedentary, depressed exercisers.

Acute high intensity exercise resulted in transient immediate improvements in depressed mood among individuals with depression.
However, these improvements are short-lived as increased levels of depressed mood and fatigue, as well as decreased vigor are observed in individuals with depression 30 min after completion of the exercise.

The depressed group fared worse than the control group, suggesting a reason why it may be especially difficult to motivate depressed individuals to pick up an exercise program. However, this negative result may have resulted from the choice of exercise protocol:

In contrast, Bartholomew, Morrison, and Ciccolo demonstrated lower depression scores (as assessed by the depression sub-scale of the POMS-SF) 30 and
60 min post-acute exercise. The previous investigations were conducted at lower intensity levels than the current investigation which might explain the disparate results.

Journal & Date: International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 2010
Authors: Ali Weinstein, Patricia Deuster, Jennifer Francis, Charles Beadling, and Willem Kop
Citation: Weinstein, A. A., Deuster, P. A., Francis, J. L., Beadling, C., & Kop, W. J. (2010). The Role of Depression in Short-Term Mood and Fatigue Responses to Acute Exercise. International Journal Of Behavioral Medicine, 17(1), 51-57. doi:10.1007/s12529-009-9046-4

Abstract here.

Regular Exercise Participation Mediates the Affective Response to Acute Bouts of Vigorous Exercise

Authors explored the differing impact of one-time, high-intensity exercise on regular and non-regular exercisers. They found that exercise makes regular exercisers happier and more energetic, and  makes non-regular exercisers less happy and less energetic for 25 minutes, until they return to baseline. This suggests one reason why it is hard to start an exercise program but easy to continue it: first-timers may not get the great benefits until they put in some more effort.

Worse still, they may believe that how they felt the first time is how they will continue to feel, draining motivation to continue.

Journal & Date: Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 2010
Authors: Paul Gastin, Mats Hallgren, and Nathan Moss
Citation: Hallgren, M. Å., Moss, N. D., & Gastin, P. (2010). Regular exercise participation mediates the affective response to acute bouts of avigorous exercise. Journal Of Sports Science & Medicine, 9(4), 629-637.

Full study here.

Moderators of the Relationship Between Exercise and Mood Changes: Gender, Exertion Level, and Workout Duration

Citation: Rocheleau, C. A., Webster, G. D., Bryan, A., & Frazier, J. (2004). Moderators of the relationship between exercise and mood changes: gender, exertion level, and workout duration. Psychology & Health, 19(4), 491-306. doi:10.1080/08870440310001613509

Full study here.

A Comparison of Post-Exercise Mood Enhancement Across Common Exercise Distraction Activities

Citation: Russell, W., Pritschet, B., Frost, B., Emmett, J., Pelley, T. J., Black, J., & Owen, J. (2003). A Comparison of Post-Exercise Mood Enhancement Across Common Exercise Distraction Activities. Journal Of Sport Behavior, 26(4), 368-383.

Additional information here.

Effects of a Home-Based Walking Program on Perceived Symptom and Mood Status in Postoperative Breast Cancer Women Receiving Adjuvant Chemotherapy

Citation: Chyn-Yng, Y., Jen-Chen, T., Ya-Ching, H., & Chia-Chin, L. (2011). Effects of a home-based walking program on perceived symptom and mood status in postoperative breast cancer women receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 67(1), 158-168. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2010.05492.x

Additional information here.

The Effects of a Comprehensive Exercise Program on Physical Function, Fatigue, and Mood in Patients With Various Types of Cancer

Citation: Hanna, L., Avila, P., Meteer, J. D., Nicholas, D. R., & Kaminsky, L. A. (2008). The Effects of a Comprehensive Exercise Program on Physical Function, Fatigue, and Mood in Patients With Various Types of Cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum, 35(3), 461-469.

Additional information here.

Physical Exercise and Depression

Citation: Eriksson, S., & Gard, G. (2011). Physical exercise and depression. Physical Therapy Reviews, 16(4), 261-268. doi:10.1179/1743288X11Y.0000000026

Additional information here.

A Randomized Clinical Trial of Exercise to Alleviate Postpartum Depressed Mood

Citation: DA COSTA, D., LOWENSTEYN, I., ABRAHAMOWICZ, M., IONESCU-ITTU, R., DRITSA, M., RIPPEN, N., & … KHALIFÉ, S. (2009). A randomized clinical trial of exercise to alleviate postpartum depressed mood. Journal Of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 30(3), 191-200. doi:10.1080/01674820903212136

Additional information here.

Physical Exercise and Depression

Citation: Het Rot, M., Collins, K. A., & Fitterling, H. L. (2009). Physical Exercise and Depression. Mount Sinai Journal Of Medicine, 76(2), 204-214. doi:10.1002/msj.20094

Additional information here.

Influence of Exercise on Mood in Postmenopausal Women

Abstract:

Aim and objective. To evaluate the influence of an exercise programme on postmenopausal women with symptoms of anxiety and depression. Background. The menopause is a period of hormonal changes when mood variations are probably more severe than at any other period of women’s lives. Design. Prospective study with control group and pre- and post-treatment measures, after six months treatment. Conducted at two healthcare clinics, in the province of Granada (Spain). Methods. A convenience sample of 60 postmenopausal women aged 60-70 years, with symptoms of depression and anxiety, was recruited. The women were randomly divided into two groups: (1) control group, no treatment ( n = 30); (2) exercise group, which carried out a programme of mixed physical exercises with musical support ( n = 30). All subjects answered questionnaires for the Hamilton Anxiety Scale and the Brink and Yesavage Geriatric Depression Scale before and after treatment. Results. In the exercise group, statistically significant improvements were observed in subjects with moderate and severe depression (18 and 22%, respectively) and in those with symptoms of anxiety. No such changes were observed in the control group. Conclusions. A controlled programme of physical exercise for postmenopausal women alleviates symptoms of anxiety and depression, and its inclusion in primary healthcare programmes should be considered. Relevance to clinical practice. Menopausal women may benefit from physical exercise, which attenuates the effects of the physiological and psychological changes associated with the menopause and prevents pathologic changes.

Citation: Villaverde Gutiérrez, C., Torres Luque, G., Ábalos Medina, G., Argente del Castillo, M., Guisado, I., Guisado Barrilao, R., & Ramírez Rodrigo, J. (2012). Influence of exercise on mood in postmenopausal women. Journal Of Clinical Nursing, 21(7/8), 923-928. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2011.03972.x

Additional information here.

Mood Enhancement Persists For Up to 12 Hours Following Aerobic Exercise: A Pilot Study

Abstract:

The objective was to estimate the duration of the effects of aerobic exercise on mood. Healthy men (n = 13) and women (n = 35) ages 18 to 25 years (M=20.2, SD=3.4) were randomly assigned to either a control or exercise group. Participants completed the Profile of Mood States before, after, and at 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24 hours following either exercise at 60% VO2 peak or quiet rest. Repeated-measures analysis of covariance was utilized with VO2 peak entered as a covariate. The exercise group showed significantly lower total mood disturbance immediately after and at 4, 8, and 12 hours following exercise.

Citation: SIBOLD, J. S., & BERG, K. M. (2010). MOOD ENHANCEMENT PERSISTS FOR UP TO 12 HOURS FOLLOWING AEROBIC EXERCISE: A PILOT STUDY. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 111(2), 333-342. doi:10.2466/02.06.13.15.PMS.111.5.333-342

Additional information here.

Mood, Anxiety, and Serum IGF-1 in Elderly Men Given 23 Weeks of High Resistance Exercise

Abstract:

As aging advances, changes in mood and anxiety may imply greater risk of mood disorders, particularly anxiety and depression. Resistance exercise reduces anxiety and lessens risk of depression in the elderly, but little is known of the mechanisms involved. It was hypothesized that the human growth factor (IGF-1) may improve mood and anxiety in elderly participants given resistance training. 43 elderly men ages 65 to 75 years were randomly assigned to two groups, Control (n=23) and high resistance Exercise (n=20). After 24 wk., the Exercise group showed improved muscular strength and higher IGF-1 serum levels than the Control group, as indicated by mean scores on a visual analogue mood scale and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Intensive resistance training was efficacious in improving mood, anxiety, and IGF-1 serum concentration in elderly individuals free of clinical mood disorders.

Citation: Cassilhas, R. C., Tufik, S., Antunes, H. M., & de Mello, M. (2010). MOOD, ANXIETY, AND SERUM IGF-1 IN ELDERLY MEN GWEN 24 WEEKS OF HIGH RESISTANCE EXERCISE. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 110(1), 265-276. doi:10.2466/PMS.110.1.265-276

Additional information here.

Differential Effects of Acute and Regular Physical Exercise on Cognition and Affect

Abstract:

The effects of regular exercise versus a single bout of exercise on cognition, anxiety, and mood were systematically examined in healthy, sedentary young adults who were genotyped to determine brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) allelic status (i.e., Val–Val or Val66Met polymorphism). Participants were evaluated on novel object recognition (NOR) memory and a battery of mental health surveys before and after engaging in either (a) a 4-week exercise program, with exercise on the final test day, (b) a 4-week exercise program, without exercise on the final test day, (c) a single bout of exercise on the final test day, or (d) remaining sedentary between test days. Exercise enhanced object recognition memory and produced a beneficial decrease in perceived stress, but only in participants who exercised for 4 weeks including the final day of testing. In contrast, a single bout of exercise did not affect recognition memory and resulted in increased perceived stress levels. An additional novel finding was that the improvements on the NOR task were observed exclusively in participants who were homozygous for the BDNF Val allele, indicating that altered activity-dependent release of BDNF in Met allele carriers may attenuate the cognitive benefits of exercise. Importantly, exercise-induced changes in cognition were not correlated with changes in mood/anxiety, suggesting that separate neural systems mediate these effects. These data in humans mirror recent data from our group in rodents. Taken together, these current findings provide new insights into the behavioral and neural mechanisms that mediate the effects of physical exercise on memory and mental health in humans.

Additional information here.

The Mood-Enhancing Benefits of Exercise: Memory Biases Augment the Effect

Abstract:

Objectives: To examine whether expectations regarding the benefits of exercise influence perceived mood changes post-exercise, by virtue of memory biases. Design: 2×2 Mixed design with 40 participants assigned to either exercise or non-exercise conditions. Pre-activity mood estimate (actual vs. retrospective) was measured within-groups. Mood change was assessed using the Incredibly Short Profile of Mood States (). Method: The exercise group completed a 10-min jogging session, with current mood assessed pre- and post-activity.Additionally, participants were asked, post-activity, to retrospectively assess their pre-activity mood state. A non-exercise control group completed a 10-min cognitive task. Results: Findings concur that 10-min bouts of exercise can beneficially impact upon mood. In addition, this effect was augmented by biased recall of pre-exercise mood. Conclusions: Individuals’ perception of mood enhancement can be augmented by reconstructive memory biases, suggesting that expectations regarding the benefits of exercise are crucial for maximising perceived mood enhancement.

Additional information here.

Exercise Makes You Feel Good, But Does Feeling Good Make You Exercise?: An Examination of Obese Dieters

Abstract:

Whereas exercise-induced mood enhancement has been well documented, the relationship between mood and exercise participation is less well understood. Mood states influence evaluative judgments that could plausibly influence a decision to exercise. Further, most exercise-mood research is limited to normal weight adults in response to a single exercise session.The current investigation examines the influence of (a) morning mood on exercise, (b) exercise intensity/duration on mood enhancement, and (c) daily change in mood on exercise days compared with nonexercise days in obese behavioral weight loss program (BWLP) participants. Participants (N = 36) recorded morning, evening, and pre- and postexercise mood, as well as the type, duration, and intensity of exercise. Within-person analyses indicated that (a) morning mood was associated with an increased likelihood of exercising, (b) mood ratings were higher following exercise of greater intensity and duration, and (c) daily mood enhancement was associated with greater exercise initiation and greater exercise intensity. Measuring mood before and after exercise may yield important clinical information that can be used to promote physical activity in obese adults.

Additional information here.

Exercise, Mood and Cognitive Performance in Intellectual Disability—A Neurophysiological Approach

Abstract:

While numerous researches addressed the connection between physical exercise, changes in brain cortical activity and its relationship to psycho-physiological processes, most of these neuro-scientific studies were set up for healthy individuals. However, the benefits of exercise, such as well being, physical and cognitive health enhancements are also becoming increasingly important for intellectually disabled individuals. This study aimed to localize electroencephalographic activity changes in intellectually disabled individuals following a moderate running exercise for 30min. An increase in cognitive performance and in mood was hypothesized to correlate with a decrease in fronto-temporal brain areas following exercise. Significant changes in cortical current density in frontal brain areas as well as decreases in perceived physical energy could be shown. Overall motivational states (including self-confidence and social acceptance) as well as positive mood increased significantly. However, no changes could be observed for the cognitive tasks following exercise. With respect to the data provided here there is reason to believe, that a self-selected pace running exercise, enhances self-esteem, coincided with cortical activity changes in fronto-temporal brain areas.

Additional information here.

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