Moderators of the relationship between exercise and mood changes: gender, exertion level, and workout duration
Although the role of exercise in improving mood is well established, less is known about moderators of this effect, particularly outside of the laboratory. The current study examined the effect of gender, type of exercise, level of exertion, and duration of workout on the exercise-mood relationship in a naturalistic setting. One hundred and thirty five participants (64 females) either engaged in weight training (n = 52) or cardiovascular (n = 83) exercise. Pre- and post-exercise assessments of mood were collected and changes in two types of mood, negative mood and exhaustion, were examined. Overall, participants reported improved mood after exercise in both domains. Workout duration and level of exertion significantly moderated the relationship of exercise to mood improvement (i.e., an increase in either corresponded to greater improved mood, ps<0.05). Overall, women showed more improved mood than men in the domain of exhaustion (p = 0.001).
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