Anxiolytic Benefits of Exercise Classes for Mothers

Medical Sciences
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Women's Health Care, 2018, 7 (4), pp. 1 - 5
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Objective: The importance of women accessing physical activity has been shown in the literature as being even more critical for wellbeing following birth of a child. As there is scant research available specifically purporting the mental health benefits of exercise classes, this paper examines the anxiolytic or anxiety-reducing benefits gained from involvement in a 3-month, twice-weekly group low-impact exercise class program for a group of mothers (n=21). Method: Quantitative data were obtained by measuring acute pre and post-changes (or pre and post-60 minutes interval for the exercise group and a non-exercising control) in the level of state anxiety (i.e. how you feel ‘right now’), through the Spielberger et al. State Anxiety Inventory (STAI). Results: The mean state anxiety levels experienced pre and post-activity showed a significant change (decrease) in exercising mothers as compared to non–exercising mothers at both Week 1 (Measurement A) and at 12–weeks (Measurement B) (p<0.05). Conclusion: Mothers are able to experience a decrease in acute anxiety following participation in exercise classes. Further strategies that allow for enhanced access and the continuation of care of children or relatives by others while the mother takes time out for health promoting exercise for leisure will need to be developed.
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