Exercise for PTSD in women veterans: A proof-of-concept study

Geetha Shivakumar, Elizabeth H. Anderson, Alina M Suris, Carol S North

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: The safety, feasibility, and efficacy of a 12-week structured exercise program targeting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in women Veterans of childbearing age was tested in a pilot study. Materials and Methods: Thirty-one women Veterans of childbearing age were enrolled in the study, 22 remained eligible after the baseline assessment, and 16 completed the exercise protocol. The exercise program consisted of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (brisk walking), 4 times a week, for 12 weeks. Data were collected on duration, intensity, and side effects. The Clinician Administered PTSD Scale was administered at baseline and at the end of 12 weeks. Weekly assessments provided data on PTSD and depression symptoms, pain, and quality of life. Results: Both post-traumatic and depressive symptoms improved significantly by the end of study. There were no adverse events related to exercise. A small focus group provided subjective experiences supporting positive effects of exercise on emotion and physical health. Conclusion: The preliminary results of this study suggests that 12 weeks of moderate intensity aerobic exercise may be a promising intervention for PTSD in women Veterans of childbearing potential. Further controlled studies are warranted to determine efficacy of moderate intensity exercise as a treatment modality for this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e1809-e1814
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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