Can Exercise Really Help Reduce Anxiety?
The Anxiety Disorders Association of America offers a number of reasons for people with anxiety to develop a regular exercise program:
- Exercise relieves anxiety symptoms, even a 10 minute walk can provide relief from anxiety symptoms for several hours.
- Depression symptoms (common in people with anxiety) are relieved quickly through exercise.
- People that are physically active have lower incidence rates of anxiety and depression.
Some scientists believe exercise increases the body's ability to deal with stress through the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which connects the different regions in the brain dealing with emotional and stress responses. One study showed as much as a 25% reduction in rates of depression and anxiety in people who exercised on a regular basis.
A regular exercise program has been found, according to some studies, to work as well as medication in relieving symptoms of anxiety. When exercise is incorporated into a regular routine not only creates a short-term benefit, but has been found to reduce symptoms of anxiety long-term.
Another study, completed at the University of Missouri-Columbia indicates showed that high intensity exercise helps to reduce the anxiety and stress that may lead to heart disease, especially in women. This study showed that mild and moderate exercise program offered some decline in anxiety, however high-intensity exercise showed the greatest results.
The benefits of exercise on anxiety have been well documented that even therapists are including exercise programs as a part of treatment.
University Of Missouri-Columbia (2003, July 15). High-Intensity Exercise Best Way To Reduce Anxiety, University Of Missouri Study Finds.
"Stress, Anxiety and Exercise", 2008, November 9, Anxiety Disorders Association of America