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Exercise interventions for stress reduction in older adult populations: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials
Churchill R, Teo K, Kervin L, Riadi I, Cosco TD
Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine 2022 Sep;10(1):913-934
systematic review

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: To assess which forms of supervised exercise are effective in reducing psychological stress in older adults. RESEARCH DESIGN: Systematic Review. METHODS: Four electronic databases (PubMed, Web of Science, PsycInfo, and SportDiscus) were searched in February of 2021. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) investigating supervised exercise interventions for psychological stress reduction in adults aged 50 plus were included in this review. Data on type, intensity, and duration of the intervention were also extracted. RESULTS: 854 studies were identified by the search strategy. Twelve RCTs met inclusion criteria. Trials involving low-intensity qigong and trials combining aerobic and anaerobic or aerobic and nutrition/diet education demonstrated the strongest evidence for stress reduction. DISCUSSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Exercise may reduce stress in older adults. Suitable duration of programme ranges from 3 months to 1 year. Light to moderate activity is recommended for best results, with qigong being the most consistent and common exercise.

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