Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 323–333

Anxiety reduction following exercise and meditation

  • Michael S. Bahrke
  • William P. Morgan

DOI: 10.1007/BF01172650

Cite this article as:
Bahrke, M.S. & Morgan, W.P. Cogn Ther Res (1978) 2: 323. doi:10.1007/BF01172650


The purpose of this investigation was to compare the influence of acute physical activity and meditation (“noncultic”)on state anxiety. Seventy-five adult male volunteers served as Ss with 25 Ss randomly assigned to either an exercise, meditation, or control group. Physical activity was performed at 70% of self-imposed maximal exercise heart rate for 20 minutes by Ss in the exercise group; Ss assigned to the meditation group practiced Benson's Relaxation Response for 20 minutes; and Ss in the control group simply rested quietly in a “Lazyboy” chair for 20 minutes. State anxiety was measured with the Spielberger Scale, and it was assessed (1)prior to, (2)immediately following, and (3)10 minutes following each treatment. Oxygen consumption, heart rate, skin temperature, and blood pressure were also measured as confirmatory variables under selected conditions. The data were analyzed by means of a two-way repeated measures ANOVA, and this analysis revealed that a significant reduction in anxiety occurred for each treatment. This held for both those Ss falling within the normal range for state anxiety and those Ss regarded as high-anxious. It was also noted that none of the physiological variables differed significantly following the control and meditation treatments. The present evidence suggests that acute physical activity, noncultic meditation, and a quiet rest session are equally effective in reducing state anxiety.

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Bahrke
    • 3
  • William P. Morgan
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Health, Physical Education and RecreationUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Exercise and Sport Science Laboratory, Department of Physical EducationUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.University of WisconsinMadisonUSA