A metanalysis of 19 moderate to high quality studies (1) in the elderly found mean anxiety score before and after intervention were 38.7 ± 5.6 and 33.7 ± 3.4 respectively, denoting a decrease in anxiety score after interventions, which included Thai Chi, Yoga, light exercise, aerobics, endurance. A further meta-analysis of 8 RCT and non-RCT studies of variable quality showed that participants who did 3 or more hours of light to vigorous activity were half as likely to score highly on validated anxiety outcome measures. (2)
Quality of evidence
B – Moderate
Strength of recommendation
1 – Strong
Regular physical activity should be considered in the elderly with physical activity. More high-quality studies are required however, the risk of adverse events is low.
1) Kazeminia M, Salari N, Vaisi-Raygani A, Jalali R, Abdi A, Mohammadi M, Daneshkhah A, Hosseinian-Far M, Shohaimi S. The effect of exercise on anxiety in the elderly worldwide: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2020 Nov 11;18(1):363. doi: 10.1186/s12955-020-01609-4. PMID: 33176811; PMCID: PMC7656765.
2) Mochcovitch MD, Deslandes AC, Freire RC, Garcia RF, Nardi AE. The effects of
regular physical activity on anxiety symptoms in healthy older adults: a
systematic review. Braz J Psychiatry. 2016 Jul-Sep;38(3):255-61. doi:
10.1590/1516-4446-2015-1893. PMID: 27579597; PMCID: PMC7194273.