Exercising Can Reduce Anxiety, New Study Reveals

Put the squeeze on stress with sweat.


Edward Cooper |

Personal trainers, strongmen and Craig at your local gym have long espoused the psychological benefits of pumping iron. But now researchers have confirmed that there is, in fact, a direct relationship between your mental health and levels of physical activity. A University of Gothenburg study analysed the correlation between the two, examining the efficacy of exercise when it comes to alleviating anxiety.

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Researchers focused on 286 patients with anxiety syndrome who had lived with the condition for at least 10 years. The participants were assigned to various group exercise sessions, ranging from moderate to strenuous intensity, for a 12-week period. The sessions were 60 minutes long and included a healthy mix of aerobic and strength training as part of a 12-station circuit format.

After 12 weeks, those who suffered from anxiety on a chronic level noted a significant reduction in their symptoms. And the majority of participants saw their anxiety levels slide from moderate or high to a low level. The study also found that participants working out at a higher intensity had a higher improvement rate when it came to their anxiety levels.

“There was a significant intensity trend for improvement – that is, the more intensely they exercised, the more their anxiety symptoms improved,” said University of Gothenburg doctoral student Malin Henriksson, the study’s first author.

The study, thought to be one of the largest to date, proves how a positive relationship can be fostered between exercise and mental strength.

This article was originally published on Men’s Health UK

READ MORE ON: mental health

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