Study Shows Exercise Eases Anxiety Symptoms

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According to a recent study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, moderate and strenuous exercise helps alleviate symptoms of anxiety.

The study, conducted at the University of Gothenburg, surveyed 286 patients with anxiety syndrome; half of them had lived with anxiety for 10 or more years. The average age of each patient was 39 years, and 70% were women. Participants were assigned to group exercise sessions, either moderate or strenuous, for 12 weeks. Both groups had 60-minute training sessions three times a week, under a physical therapist's guidance. Each session included both cardio and strength training, with a warmup, circle training around 12 stations for 45 minutes, and a cooldown and stretching at the end.

A control group simply received advice about physical activity based on current public health recommendations.

The researchers found that people in the treatment groups went from a baseline level of moderate to high anxiety, to a low anxiety level after the 12-week program. "There was a significant intensity trend for improvementthat is, the more intensely they exercised, the more their anxiety symptoms improved," said Malin Henriksson, doctoral student at Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, specialist in general medicine in the Halland Region, and the study's first author.

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