Mood alteration with yoga and swimming: aerobic exercise may not be necessary

Percept Mot Skills. 1992 Dec;75(3 Pt 2):1331-43. doi: 10.2466/pms.1992.75.3f.1331.


The mood benefits of Hatha yoga and swimming, two activities that differ greatly in aerobic training benefits, were examined. College students (N = 87) in two swimming classes, a yoga class, and a lecture-control class completed mood and personality inventories before and after class on three occasions. A multivariate analysis of variance indicated that both yoga participants (n = 22) and swimmers (n = 37) reported greater decreases in scores on Anget, Confusion, Tension, and Depression than did the control students (n = 28). The consistent mood benefits of yoga supported our earlier observation that the exercise need not be aerobic to be associated with mood enhancement. However, underlying and causal mechanisms remain uncertain. Among the men, the acute decreases in Tension, Fatigue, and Anger after yoga were significantly greater than those after swimming. Yoga may be even more beneficial than swimming for men who personally select to participate. The women reported fairly similar mood benefits after swimming and yoga. It seems that aerobic exercise may not be necessary to facilitate the mood benefits. Also, students with greater mood changes attended class more regularly than those who reported fewer psychological benefits. Maximizing the immediate psychological benefits of exercise might be one way to encourage adults to be physically active.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect*
  • Emotions
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Swimming / psychology*
  • Yoga / psychology*