Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Seriously, Exercise can Reduce Anxiety

This sounds like common sense, but sometimes when common sense appears in print it reinforces our intuition regarding the validity of our common sense perceptions.

According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, if you engage in exercise on a regular basis, you stand some likelihood of feeling less anxious.

The study involved analyzing data from forty other studies to find correlations. This is what the analysis found. Those who exercised, apparently in sessions lasting at least 30 minutes (a long walk, some time on a treadmill or eliptical, perhaps some weight lifting or aerobics, fill in the blank), had a twenty percent reduction in anxiety symptoms. And, nicely enough, this improvement in anxiety seemed to be the case regardless of the person's medical problems, including fibromyalgia, depression, cancer, and heart disease.

Very interesting, of course, was the fact that a similar reduction in anxiety symptoms was not found for just one type of illness: multiple sclerosis.

As a short article in the LA times points out, it's well known that exercise can ameliorate depression, but the positive effects of exercise on anxiety has not been studied much. From my own point of view, I find that a good walk of 1.5 to 3 miles is excellent for reducing stress. And if I actually do what I've been considering (taking downloaded audio books in MP3 format with me), my walks may get longer and more frequent.

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