The Effects of an Exercise Program on Anxiety Levels and Metabolic Functions in Patients With Anxiety Disorders

Biol Res Nurs. 2017 May;19(3):258-268. doi: 10.1177/1099800416672581. Epub 2016 Oct 11.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of a home-based (HB) exercise program on anxiety levels and metabolic functions in patients with anxiety disorders in Taiwan. Purposive sampling was used to recruit 86 participants for this randomized, experimental study. Participants were asked to complete a pretest before the 3-month exercise program, a posttest at 1 week, and a follow-up test at 3 months after the exercise program. Study measures included four Self-Report Scales and biophysical assessments to collect and assess personal data, lifestyle behaviors, anxiety levels, and metabolic control functions. Of the 86 study participants, 83 completed the posttest and the 3-month follow-up test, including 41 in the experimental group and 42 in the control group. Participants in the experimental group showed significant improvements in body mass index, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, and the level of moderate exercise after the program relative to the control group, as analyzed by generalized estimating equations mixed-model repeated measures. State and trait anxiety levels were also significantly improved from pretest to follow-up test in the experimental group. Finally, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome declined for participants in the experimental group. The HB exercise program produced positive effects on the metabolic indicators and anxiety levels of Taiwanese adults with anxiety disorders. Health providers should consider using similar HB exercise programs to help improve the mental and physical health of patients with anxiety disorders in their communities.

Keywords: anxiety; community; exercise program; mental illness; metabolic control function.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety Disorders / complications
  • Anxiety Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Taiwan