Alleviate Anxiety By Exercising, New University Study Suggests

·1-min read
Photo credit: franckreporter - Getty Images
Photo credit: franckreporter - Getty Images

It's no secret that there's a direct relationship between your mental wellbeing and your levels of physical activity. A new study from the University of Gothenburg has sought to pinpoint the precise correlation between the two, by analysing the efficacy of exercise when it comes to treating anxiety.

Focusing the research on 286 patients with anxiety syndrome in Sweden, the study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, examined participants who had lived with the mental health condition for at least ten years. The study participants were assigned to group exercise sessions — either at moderate or strenuous intensity — for a 12-week period, training for 60 minutes with a mix of cardio (aerobic) and strength training in a 12-station circuit format. For those dealing with anxiety on a chronic level, it was found that the group exercise 'significantly' alleviated the symptoms of anxiety.

To that end, the majority of study participants who went from moderate to high levels of anxiety to a low level of anxiety after the 12-week period. Interestingly, the participants working out at a higher intensity were found to have a higher improvement rate when it came to their anxiety.

"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.

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