The relationship between cardiorespiratory exercise and psychological well-being and mood state was studied in elderly women. Thirty-two sedentary Caucasian women 67 to 85 years of age were randomly assigned to either a walking or an attention-placebo control group; 30 completed all phases of the study. Intervention groups exercised 30 to 40 minutes 5 days a week for 12 weeks, with the walking group training at 60% heart rate reserve and the control group engaging in mild range-of-motion and flexibility movements that kept their heart rates close to resting levels. In a separate analysis, 12 highly conditioned elderly women 65 to 84 years of age who were active in endurance competitions were recruited at baseline for cross-sectional comparisons. At baseline they exhibited superior scores on the profile of mood states (POMS) and general well-being (GWB) schedule. Twelve weeks of moderate cardiorespiratory exercise improved the VO2max of the sedentary subjects 12.6% but did not result in improvement in POMS or GWB scores greater than those of the attention-placebo control group.
The authors are with the Department of Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608.