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Table 2 Characteristics of Studies comparing High Intensity to Low Intensity Exercise

From: Exercise in the treatment of clinical anxiety in general practice – a systematic review and meta-analysis

Author Study Size Diagnostic criteria Intervention Control group Were groups matched for time spent with the trainer? Long term follow up Outcome measure
Broman-Fulks, 2004 [43] n = 54 Students with a score of 25 or more (0.75 SD over the mean) on the Anxiety Sensitivity Index Six 20 min treadmill sessions at high intensity for 2 weeks. Polaris heart monitor to assess HR. 60–90% HR max. Six 20 min walking at low intensity over two weeks. Yes Measurements repeated one week later Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI), and State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI trait)
Sexton et al 1989 [44] n = 40 Non-psychotic Inpatients with anxiety disorders Jogging, 30 mins 3 or 4 times per week for 8 weeks at 70% HR max Walking for 3 or 4 times per week over 8 weeks at a comfortable speed. Yes Yes, 6 months later State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI trait)
Steptoe et al 1989 [45] n = 33 Volunteers with anxiety levels in the “borderline” or “definite” range on HADS scale and/or raised score on the Profile of Moods States. 10 weeks of one supervise and three unsupervised sessions. 20 mins of continuous walking at 60–65% HR max. 10 weeks of one supervise and three unsupervised sessions. Strength, mobility and flexibility not above 50% HR max. Yes Yes at 3 months State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI trait)
Gaudlitz et al.. 2015 [46] n = 47 Participants had Panic Disorder according to DSMIV criteria 30 mins on treadmill 3 times per week for 8 weeks to 70% VO2 max. Low intensity stretching exercises for 30 mins 3 times per week for 8 weeks Yes Yes at 7 months Hamilton Anxiety Scale (Ham-A), BAI
Martinsen et al, 1989 [42] n = 79 Patients meeting DSM III criteria for panic disorder with or without agoraphobia, Generalised anxiety disorder or social phobia. Brisk walking or jogging to 70% VO2 max, Trained 3 times per week for 8 weeks. Anaerobic training - strength, flexibility and relaxation - low intensity. Yes No Comprehensive Psychopathological Rating Scale (CPRS), Phobic Avoidance Rating Scale (PARS)