This meta-analysis examined the exercise-mood relationship in older adults. 158 effect sizes (ESs) from 32 studies were grouped intoexperimental-versus-control, gains, and correlational ESs. Each study was coded for moderator variables related to descriptive, design, participant, exercise, and mood-assessment characteristics. Experimental-versus-control ESs for negative (NA) and positive affect (PA) were 0.35 (p < .05) and 0.33 (p > .05), respectively, with an overall ES of 0.34, p < .05. The gains ESs for NA and PA in an exercise group were 0.39 (p < .05) and 0.35 (p < .05), respectively, with an overall ES of 0.38, p < .05. All effects were significantly greater than those for the control groups. Correlational ESs of 0.47 and 0.42 were found for NA and PA. respectively. It was concluded that chronic exercise is associated with improved mood in the elderly. Moderating variables and implications for exercise prescription to improve mood in the elderly are discussed.
The authors are with the Department of Exercise Science and Physical Education at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0404.