An exploration of the relationship of exercise, mood, and weather in non-depressed regular exercisers
Kroll, Kristin Hunter
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The associations between the variables of exercise, mood, and weather in non-depressed regular exercisers has received scant attention in the research literature. To better understand the role of exercise on mood, the effect of environmental conditions, and the type of exercise on mood improvement, physically active college-aged participants (N=90) provided twice daily ratings of their mood and exercise habits for seven days. Sensitivity to weather conditions was assessed with the Inventory of Seasonal Variation, Weather Affect Questionnaire, Weather Affect Questionnaire, and Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire, current mood and depressive symptoms with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depressed Mood Scale and Profile of Mood States, and reported engagement in physical activity with the Godin Leisure-Time Physical Activity Questionnaire. Analysis revealed a significant difference from the first mood rating to the second mood rating: F(1, 449)= 76.57, p<.001, p2Additionally, analysis indicated that there was a significant difference in overall mood improvement from the first to the second rating based upon whether an individual had exercised, F(1, 449)= 23.80, p<.001, p2 Contrary to prediction, individuals sensitive to seasonal variation did not self-select into outdoor exercise more frequently and did not experience a greater improvement in daily mood as a result of outdoor exercise than individuals who did not report being sensitive to weather variations. Secondary analysis indicated that there was a significant difference by gender in the number of individuals identified as being seasonally sensitive. Findings from this study support the central role that exercise plays with regard to daily mood, and as a result, recommendations are given emphasizing the role of exercise ans a means of social justice. Further research is recommended to further delineate the mechanism of action exerted on mood by the type of exercise, the environment in which exercise is performed, and the effect of prevention of exercise for specific reasons.