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Review: exercise programmes reduce anxiety symptoms in sedentary patients with chronic illnesses

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What is the effect of exercise training on anxiety in people with chronic illness, and what are the moderators of this effect?


Primary outcome: change in anxiety scores; primary moderators: exercise session duration, programme length, fitness change, intervention type, comparator intervention type and time frame of anxiety report.



Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Scientific Database (maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) was searched for articles published between January 1995 and August 2007. Google Scholar, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PubMed and Web of Science were searched in December 2008. Hand searches of relevant articles were also carried out.

Study selection and analysis

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing exercise intervention lasting at least three weeks versus no exercise intervention in sedentary adults with chronic illness. Other inclusion criteria: English language articles, anxiety outcome measured at baseline and after exercise training. Studies that included exercise as part of a multi-component intervention which did not use the non-exercise components as the comparator were excluded, as were studies comparing exercise versus an …

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  • Sources of funding None reported.


  • Competing interests None.

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