The effects of cognitive and physical training on physiological and psychological levels of anxiety in the female elderly

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Imam Khomeini International University

2 Department of Sport Sciences, faculty of Social Sciences, Imam Khomeini International University , Qazvin

3 Department of Sport Sciences, faculty of Social Sciences, Imam Khomeini International University, Qavin

4 Master of Exercise Physiology, Exercise Physiology, University of Zanjan, Iran.


Background: Increasing prevalence rate of anxiety disorders in elderly populations especially due to physical limitations has become a key concern for health authorities.
Aim: The objective of the study was to investigate the effects of cognitive and physical training on physiological and psychological Levels of anxiety in the elderly.
Material and Methods: Forty-nine aged females (62.3±2.6 years) with BMI of 35-49.99 kg/m2 were assigned to one of three groups: Cognitive (n= 17), Physical training [yoga] (n= 16) and control group (n= 10). The cognitive training protocol included breathing and imagery/visualization techniques, which lasted for an 8-week period, three sessions a week. Yoga practices comprising Asana and Pranaya training, three times a week, for two months. The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was given before and after intervention training. Biofeedback devices was used to monitor galvanic skin resistance and resting heart rate (as physiological and psychological markers of anxiety) in pretest and pre-test phases. The data were analyzed using analysis covariance and Bonferroni post hoc test.
Results: It was indicated that anxiety score in cognitive training was significantly lower than control group (P= 0.002) and also, anxiety score in physical Training was significantly lower than control group (P= 0.01). No significant difference was found between the two training groups (P= 0.18). Furthermore, both training groups had lower galvanic skin resistance (P< 0.001). In addition, physical training group had a better status of resting heart rate after intervention compared to the cognitive and control groups (respectively, P= 0.04 and P= 0.001).
Conclusions: It was concluded that the health benefits of Physical training [yoga] isn’t not specific to maintaining physical health, but also extends to lowering the anxiety in elderly with obesity. It was also suggested that cognitive training can mitigate the anxiety symptoms in the elderly while no physical changes were shown in cognitive training.


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