Exercise and Anxiety Reduction: Examination of Temperature as an Explanation for Affective Change

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Steven J. PetruzzelloUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Daniel M. LandersArizona State University

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Walter SalazarUniversity of Costa Rica

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Although body temperature elevation resulting from exercise has been implicated as one mechanism underlying anxiety reduction, no published evidence exists which establishes the relationship between body temperature and anxiety with respect to exercise. To examine this relationship, 20 males ran for 30 min at 75% VO2max in three temperature-manipulated conditions: (a) Normal—normal temperature change associated with exercise; (b) Cooler—attenuation of normal rise in temperature; and (c) Warmer—accentuation of normal rise in temperature. Significant temperature differences resulted from the three conditions. Although anxiety was reduced following exercise in all conditions and relationships between changes in temperature and anxiety were strong (rs>.75), manipulations of temperature accounted for only a small percentage of the variance in anxiety. It appears that elevated body temperature may not be necessary for exercise-related anxiety reduction to occur. Other variables which might have a greater effect on anxiety reduction (e.g., brain temperature, blood pressure) need to be examined.

S.J. Petruzzello is with the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Louise Freer Hall, 906 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801. D.M. Landers is with the Department of Exercise Science and Physical Education at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0404. W. Salazar is with the Department of Sport and Physical Education at the University of Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica.

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