Avoid Anxiety with Regular Exercise
Regular exercise can significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety, according to a new study from the University of Georgia.
The study, published in the February 22nd edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine, involved 3000 patients with a variety of medical conditions. They discovered a 20% drop in anxiety with patients who exercised regularly.
"Our findings add to the growing body of evidence that physical activities such as walking or weight lifting may turn out to be the best medicine that physicians can prescribe to help their patients feel less anxious," said lead author Matthew Herring, a doctoral student in the department of kinesiology, part of the UGA College of Education.
Herring pointed out that chronic medical conditions increased as the levels of general anxiety increased, highlighting the need for effective, low-cost treatment. Anxiety disorders affect about 25% of people at some point in their lives affecting twice as many women then men, according to the Anxiety Disorder Resource Centre.
The researchers analyzed patients who suffered from conditions such as heart disease, MS, cancer and arthritis. 90% of the patients that were assigned a regular exercise program had fewer symptoms associated with anxiety such as nervousness, fear, worry and apprehension than the control group.
"We found that exercise seems to work with just about everybody under most situations," said study co-author Pat O'Connor, professor and co-director of the UGA Exercise Psychology Laboratory. "Exercise even helps people who are not very anxious to begin with become more calm."
The exercise sessions that lasted more than 30 minutes had the greatest effect on combatting anxiety disorders. Surprisingly, programs that lasted 3-12 weeks has a better effect than exercise programs lasting more than 12 weeks. The researchers cited that participants were less likely to continue with longer exercise programs.
"Because not all study participants completed every exercise session, the effect of exercise on anxiety reported in our study may be underestimated," said study co-author Rod Dishman, also a professor of kinesiology.
If you suffer from anxiety, take up a sport, join a gym or go for daily walks to help clear your mind. Natural supplements such as GABA, St. John's Wort and Valerian will go a long way to ensuring you have peace of mind.
For more information, visit Anxiety Canada, a not-for-profit organization aimed to promote the prevention, treatment and management of anxiety disorders.
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