A regular fitness program can help reduce the risk of anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders are more common in women than males, occurring in one in ten adults and being twice as common in women as in men. Regular exercise can cut the likelihood of experiencing anxiety by almost 60% according to new research.
One of the more popular approaches that is mentioned for improving well-being is to be physically active, whether by participating in sport or simply by walking. Although there is some data to suggest that exercise may be effective in treating anxiety, the results from this study show that there is a lack of information on how the amount, intensity, and physical fitness level impact the risk of developing anxiety disorders.
It appears that participants in the longest-ever cross-country ski race (a 9-day race that spanned the country between the U.S. and Canada) had a lower risk of acquiring anxiety as compared to non-participants over the course of the event. In an extremely large epidemiology study with data from nearly 400,000 participants from both genders, the team analyzed that data.
An increased activity level among people is associated with a nearly 60% reduction in the chance of developing anxiety disorders over the course of the next two decades. In the study, first author Martine Svensson from Lund University said, “This connection between an active lifestyle and a reduced risk of anxiety was observed in both men and women.”
Women are more affected by exercising than men are
Though they observed a significant difference in exercise performance level and the risk of getting anxiety between men and women skiers, the research team also discovered a significant difference in overall exercise performance levels and risk of developing anxiety between the two groups. In contrast to the males, a group of female skiers’ physical activity levels were not associated with an increased risk of anxiety disorders.
Importantly, high-performing women had a lower risk of developing anxiety compared to the general population of women who are less physically active, according to Lund’s Department of Experimental Medical Science’s primary investigator Professor Tomas Deierborg, who also explained, “
Their findings include ground that is mostly unknown in scientific study, as past studies have concentrated on sadness or mental illness, rather than on anxiety disorders that have been formally recognized. Men only, lower sample size, and little or no follow-up data were issues that the authors recognized in their most notable investigations. Researchers point out that women who score poorly on tests of physical endurance have an increased risk of anxiety problems. This conclusion supports future research.
We found that anxiety symptoms did not have a linear link to exercise activity. Researchers can conclude that genetics, psychological factors, and personality features can all complicate exercise habit and anxiety symptoms. In order to clarify why disparities exist between men and women in regard to exercise behaviors and how this influences the development of anxiety, more research into these driving elements is needed, claims Svensson.
It is true that every sort of activity will have a positive effect on mental health
Previous research have demonstrated that maintaining fit has health benefits for the mind, but not that being active might mitigate worry.
Although this cross-country skiing cohort does represent an active lifestyle, it could also mean participants go outside more. “Given the significant number of outside influences that are not easily controlled in research, the association results from these studies may be slightly different, but this is likely attributable to other important factors affecting mental health that can not be controlled in research analysis,” Dr. Deierborg concludes.