Comparison of high and moderate intensity of strength training on mood and anxiety in older adults

Percept Mot Skills. 1998 Dec;87(3 Pt 1):1003-11. doi: 10.2466/pms.1998.87.3.1003.


This study was designed to examine the psychological benefits of anaerobic exercise for older adults. Specifically, strength training was employed to examine the effects on mood and anxiety in a group of healthy but sedentary older women. 36 women (mean age = 68.5 yr.) were randomly assigned to groups given high intensity or moderate intensity strength training or to a control group. Strength training was conducted three days a week for 12 weeks. After the training period, both high and moderate strength-training programs produced marked improvements in muscle strength and body composition compared to the control subjects. The average improvements in the high and moderate intensity strength-training groups for muscle strength were 40.5 and 35.5%, respectively, and for percent body fat 1.52 and 2.50%, respectively. As for psychological changes, both training groups significantly improved positive mood (vigor), and the moderate intensity group significantly reduced trait anxiety compared to means of the control group. Also, both training groups showed some decrease in tension and state anxiety after the training period. These findings provide evidence for the effectiveness of anaerobic training to enhance perception of psychological well-being in older women. A moderate intensity rather than high intensity of training regimen may be more beneficial for sedentary older women to improve psychological health.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Personality Inventory
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Sex Factors