Exercise reduces chronic anxiety better than drugs • Earth.com
A new study conducted by the University of Gothenburg has found that moderate and intense physical exercise is very effective in relieving acute and chronic anxiety. According to scientists, structured physical activity is more effective in treating anxiety than medication or even psychological or psychiatric therapy.
The scientists recruited 286 patients with anxiety disorders from primary care wards in Gothenburg and the northern part of Halland county on the west coast of Sweden. The average age of the participants was 39 years old and 70% of them were women. Nearly half of them had been living with anxiety for more than 10 years.
Participants were assigned to 60-minute group exercise sessions, moderate or intense, three times a week, for a total of 12 weeks. Next, they had to report the severity of their anxiety symptoms, including nervousness, rapid breathing, racing heartbeat and shaking.
The results indicate that moderate and intense physical exercise is very effective in reducing anxiety symptoms, even in patients with chronic anxiety disorders.
“A 12-week group exercise program was found to be effective for patients with anxiety syndromes in primary care,” the study authors wrote. “These results reinforce the view of exercise as an effective treatment and may be more frequently made available in clinical practice for people with anxiety problems.”
The researchers found that the more intense the workouts, the more they reduced participants’ anxiety levels. “There was a significant trend toward improvement in intensity – that is, the more intensely they trained, the better their anxiety symptoms improved,” the lead author explained. study, Malin Henriksson, PhD student at the University of Gothenburg.
Current common treatments for anxiety include the use of psychotropic medications, usually combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. However, these treatments are quite expensive and the drugs have many side effects. Thus, the alternative proposed by the research team from the University of Gothenburg could prove to be more effective.
“Primary care physicians need individualized treatments, with few side effects and easy to prescribe,” said study lead author Maria Åberg, a medical specialist and senior lecturer at the University of Gothenburg. . “The model involving 12 weeks of physical training, regardless of intensity, represents an effective treatment that should be made available more often in primary health care for people with anxiety problems.”
The study is published in the Affective Disorders Diary.
By Andrei Ionescu, Terre.com Personal editor