Get on yer bike! - Exercise is a proven cure for anxiety
Feeling a bit too anxious or nervous recently?

One effective prescription might be to cycle to and from the drug store – no purchase necessary.

A new study published in the latest issue of the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise says that moderate exercise may reduce anxiety for extended periods of time.

The research was conducted by scientists at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health and led by J. Carson Smith, an assistant professor in the university’s Department of Kinesiology.

Using a group of healthy college volunteers, Smith compared the effectiveness of 30 minutes of quiet rest with 30 minutes of moderate exercise (cycling) in reducing anxiety in both the long and short-term. The anxiety levels of the participants were measured at three intervals {1 - before rest or exercise, 2 - fifteen minutes after rest or exercise, and lastly, after exposure to photographs which included very disturbing images}.

The participants were assessed using the State-Trait Anxiety inventory.

The findings clearly showed that while both the rest group and exercise group reduced their levels of anxiety initially, those in the exercise group had far lower levels of anxiety in the longer term.

Speaking of the findings, Smith said:

"While it is well-known that exercise improves mood, among other benefits, not as much is known about the potency of exercise's impact on emotional state and whether these positive effects endure when we're faced with everyday stressors once we leave the gym. We found that exercise helps to buffer the effects of emotional exposure. If you exercise, you'll not only reduce your anxiety, but you'll be better able to maintain that reduced anxiety when confronted with emotional events."

This latest study provides additional evidence of the benefits of exercise for people who experience stress and anxiety. Future research is planned to see how exercise can affect people with persistently high levels of anxiety and depression.