Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Hermann J. Engels


The purpose of this dissertation was to evaluate changes in two antimicrobial markers, upper respiratory symptom (URS) variables, and mood state following participation in an acute (N = 93) and chronic (N = 88) observational study of college aerobic exercise, yoga exercise, and non-exercise classes.

METHODS: Unstimulated whole saliva was collected pre/post-acute (50 minutes) and pre/midpoint/post-chronic (12 weeks) during the study period. Saliva was analyzed for salivary immunoglobulin A (SIgA) and salivary alpha amylase (SAA) using protocols and assay kits by Salimetrics, upper respiratory symptoms (URS) were evaluated using the Wisconsin Upper Respiratory Symptom Survey (WURSS), and mood states were evaluated by the Profile of Mood States (POMS) questionnaire.

RESULTS: Analysis of the acute data revealed significant improvements for SIgA concentration in the aerobic exercise group (AEG) and the yoga exercise group (YEG) as well as SIgA secretion increases for all participants combined. No significant acute SAA concentration or secretion improvements were noted.

Chronic measurements revealed significant SIgA secretion (pretest to midpoint and pretest to posttest) and SFR increases (pretest to posttest) for all participants combined with no changes in SIgA concentration. The WURSS data revealed a significant decrease in the

symptom score for the YEG and a significant increase in the symptom score for the non-exercise group (NEG) with notable but non-significant decreases in the incidence of infections of 39, 30, and 27 for the NEG, AEG, and YEG, respectively. Significant chronic SAA concentration

decreases were noted for all participants combined between the pretest and posttest. Analysis of the POMS scores found significant acute improvements for all cohorts in all POMS categories and Total Mood Disturbance except for vigor-activity. Additionally, the entire cohort had significant chronic improvements for fatigue-inertia.

CONCLUSIONS: This study's results provide meaningful contributions to the field of mucosal immune research indicating that a 12 week yoga exercise class may decrease symptomatology of URS. The chronic SIgA secretion increases were attributed to SFR increases and the significant SFR increases may be a benefit for people suffering from xerostomia. Additionally, participation in an acute exercise session of aerobic or yoga exercise may elevate SIgA concentration immediately following exercise indicating strengthened mucosal immunity.

Since SAA is a relatively new antimicrobial marker, this study provides meaningful observations about the pattern of change seen in SAA following acute and chronic exercise of low and moderate intensity.

Collectively, these results provide support for the continued encouragement of individuals to use moderate and low intensity exercise such as aerobics and yoga to improve mucosal immunity.