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The effects of education and exercise on fitness and stress

by Malec, Carol A.

Abstract (Summary)
The study described in this thesis explored the relationship between fitness levels and perceived stress in a group of older, previously sedentary adults. The purpose of the study was to track people as they becarne more M in order to further understand how fitness and stress are reiated in a demographically diverse population. This was done by monitoring stress variables and looking for changes across time as fitness ieveis increased. Participants self-selected into one of three conditions. Group 1 was offered education on heaithy active lifesqle dong with aerobic exercise training. Group 2 was offered education on healthy active lifestyle only. Group 3 was offered the same healthy active lifestyle prognim at the end of the study, but acted as the waiting list control with the request that they not participate in aerobic exercise for the duration of their waiting period. Participant stress ievels and h e u levels were assessed at the onset of the study for baseline measures and once every 4 weeks thereafter for the duration of 12 weeks. Stress was measured by a combination of paper and pend self-report measures and self-monitoring scales. Fitness was measured by the Cooper Fitness Test, heart-rate recovery rate following exercise, and resting heart rate. Findings of the study showed a strong link between improved aerobic fitness and lowered stress levels. Analysis of the data showed that as aerobic fitness levels improved, stress levels dropped sigdicant1y in the groups exercising. Compared to the control group,both treatment groups reported sigdicantiy less stress at week 4, and although both treatment groups continued to improve, ody Group 1 showed significant merences at week 12. This shidy demonstrates that moderate exercise (twice a week for 40 minutes) can yield signifïcant gains in fitness and significant reductions in stress.
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1997

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