Mood alterations in mindful versus aerobic exercise modes

J Psychol. 2003 Sep;137(5):405-19. doi: 10.1080/00223980309600624.


The results of most recent studies have generally indicated an improvement in mood after participation in aerobic exercise. However, only a few researchers have compared mindful modes of exercise with aerobic exercise to examine the effect of 1 single session of exercise on mood. In the present study, the authors assessed state anxiety, depressive mood, and subjective well-being prior to and following 1 class of 1 of 4 exercise modes: yoga, Feldenkrais (awareness through movement), aerobic dance, and swimming; a computer class served as a control. Participants were 147 female general curriculum and physical education teachers (mean age = 40.15, SD = 0.2) voluntarily enrolled in a 1-year enrichment program at a physical education college. Analyses of variance for repeated measures revealed mood improvement following Feldenkrais, swimming, and yoga but not following aerobic dance and computer lessons. Mindful low-exertion activities as well as aerobic activities enhanced mood in 1 single session of exercise. The authors suggest that more studies assessing the mood-enhancing benefits of mindful activities such as Feldenkrais and yoga are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Cognition*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Inventory
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Swimming
  • Yoga