Kinesiology researchers from the University of Maryland School of Public Health recently published the results of their study showing that exercise has enduring positive effects on anxiety levels even after the workout has finished. Their findings were published in the August online issue of theMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal.
Dr. Carlson Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, and his team studied two groups of college students; one group exercised moderately for 30 minutes while the other group rested for the same time period. Subjects were rotated to the other group on subsequent days to give all participants the opportunity to test in both groups. Afterwards, students were exposed to a variety of photographs designed to elicit neutral, pleasant and unpleasant reactions.
During each phase of the process, subject were rated on their anxiety levels using the State-Trait Anxiety inventory.
Researchers found that exercise and rest were equally effective at reducing anxiety levels initially. However subjects who exercised showed continueddecreased levels of anxiety even after exposure to disturbing photographs, unlike those who had the rest session.
This finding, according to the research team, suggests that moderate exercise may play an important role in helping people cope with day to day stressors that cause anxiety.
Read the online abstract, “Effects of Emotional Exposure on State Anxiety after Acute Exercise”. You can also read the ScienceDailyarticle, “Exercise May Protect Against Future Emotional Stress, Study Shows”.