Physical exercise: the least thoughtful ally to fight anxiety

Two hundred and eighty-six people with anxiety syndrome were selected by medical centers in Sweden to participate in the research (Getty Images)

By definition, anxiety is a state of intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear in everyday situations, which can cause a fast heartbeat, rapid breathing, sweating and a feeling of fatigue.

People who suffer from anxiety know that its effects can affect them for years, or even most of their lives. Of course, there is no simple cure to completely get rid of worrying thoughts and feelings, but recent research shows that exercising regularly for at least three months can significantly reduce anxiety levels among patients.

Current treatments for anxiety include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can take a long time, and psychotropic medications, which often produce adverse effects.. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg hope to offer better treatment options done study This shows how simple exercise can effectively reduce anxiety symptoms. is being Researchwhich was published in the magazine Journal of Affective DisordersIt gives people with this condition a safer and faster treatment option for their disorder.

Previous research has found that physical activity reduces symptoms of depression. However, a complete overview of how physical fitness affects people with anxiety has yet to be established. “Primary care physicians need individualized treatments, have few side effects, and are easy to prescribe.”said study leader and corresponding author Maria Aberg, associate professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg.

Current treatments for anxiety include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can be time consuming, and psychiatric medications, which often have adverse effects (Getty Images)
Current treatments for anxiety include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can be time consuming, and psychiatric medications, which often have adverse effects (Getty Images)

Two hundred and eighty-six people with anxiety syndrome were selected by medical centers in Sweden to participate in the research, which is considered one of the most important research ever conducted on this topic. About half of the participants had experienced anxiety for ten years or more. The median age was 39 years and 70% of the study members were women.

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Participants were randomly assigned to light or vigorous group exercise classes over a three-month period. Compared to the control group who received advice on physical exercise according to public health guidelines, The results showed that her symptoms were significantly reduced even when the disease was severe.

Anxiety levels decreased from moderate to low after the three-month program for most participants. Those who trained at a lower intensity were 3.62 times more likely to improve their anxiety symptoms. Those who trained at a higher intensity were 4.88 times more likely to improve their anxiety symptoms. “There was a strong trend toward improvement, which means that the more intense they exercised, the lower their anxiety symptoms,” says first study author Malin Henriksson, a doctoral student at the Sahlgrenska Academy who specializes in general medicine.

A physical therapist supervised the routine for one hour for both groups three times a week. Workouts included cardio and weight training. The 45-minute sessions began with a warm-up, continued with circuit exercises in 12 positions, and concluded with a stretch and cool-down.

Those in the moderate-intensity training groups were expected to reach 60% of their maximum heart rate, which is considered light to moderate intensity. This level of effort was considered high in the group that exercised more vigorously, and their goal was to reach 75% of their maximum heart rate.

“A form that includes 12 weeks of physical training, regardless of intensity, is an effective treatment that should be available in primary care more frequently for people with anxiety problems,” Aberg concluded.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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