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Background and objectives: An appropriate exercise can improve the quality of life. This study aimed to examine brisk marching exercise on sympathetic activation in stressful condition, physical and mental health status following an aerobic exercise in sedentary Thais.
Methods: This study was conducted in Srinagarind Hospital Khon Kaen University personnel with sedentary lifestyles. They were divided into 2 groups: 25 subjects with no brisk marching; 25 subjects engaging to brisk marching at moderate intensity (75 to 80% of HRmax) of 30 min/session, 3-5 sessions/week for 12 consecutive weeks. Stress was evaluated from a salivary alpha amylase (sAA) level while physical and mental health status was achieved from a detailed questionnaire. Mean, standard deviation, paired t-test; repeated ANOVA and ANCOVA were employed for data analysis.
Results: It was observed that 12 weeks of brisk marching reduced body weight (54.7±6.2 vs. 54.0±6.7 kg, p<0.01), body mass index (21.1±1.8 vs. 20.0±4.6 kg/m2, p<0.01), waist (74.2±5.9 vs. 71.9±5.2 cm, p <0.01) and hip circumferences (93.0±5.7 vs. 91.8±5.5 cm, p <0.05). Physical and mental health was increased (47.5±1.92 vs. 53.3±1.18 score, p <0.001; 39.3±1.77vs. 44.5±1.19 score, p <0.005). Moreover, sAA level was increased by week 4 and week 8 compared to week 0 (196.46±19.19 kIU/l, p<0.005 and 177.69±17.45 kIU/l, p<0.05, respectively, vs. 125.90±13.31 kIU/l) but was reduced by week 12 (127.87 ±16.89 kIU/l, p >0.05).
Conclusions: The present study suggests that moderate exercise by brisk marching improves physical and mental health as well as reduces stress. Therefore, regular exercise should be recommended to adults with sedentary lifestyles.
Keywords: alpha amylase, stress, physical health, mental health, brisk marching