Regular exercise lowers risk of developing anxiety by 60%: Study

2021-09-11 21:03:11
Regular exercise lowers risk of developing anxiety by 60%: Study

The findings of a recent study suggest that those who engage in regular exercise may lower their risk of developing anxiety by almost 60 percent.

Anxiety disorders - which typically develop early in a person's life - are estimated to affect approximately 10 per cent of the world's population and have been found to be twice as common in women compared to men.

And while exercise is put forward as a promising strategy for the treatment of anxiety, little is known about the impact of exercise dose, intensity, or physical fitness level on the risk of developing anxiety disorders.

To help answer this question, researchers in Sweden have shown that those who took part in the world's largest long-distance cross-country ski race (Vasaloppet) between 1989 and 2010 had a "significantly lower risk" of developing anxiety compared to non-skiers during the same period.

The study is based on data from almost 400,000 people in one of the largest ever population-wide epidemiology studies across both sexes.

"We found that the group with a more physically active lifestyle had an almost 60 per cent lower risk of developing anxiety disorders over a follow-up period of up to 21 years," said first author of the paper, Martine Svensson, and her colleague and principal investigator, Tomas Deierborg, of the Department of Experimental Medical Science at Lund University, Sweden.

Living through the global coronavirus pandemic for the past year and a half has taken a toll on the mental health of many adults and children.

A study from earlier this year in the US showed that 1 in 5 adults said they were experiencing high levels of psychological distress, including anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, loneliness and physical distress symptoms.

And throughout the pandemic, about 4 in 10 US adults have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders.

Overall, mental-health issues result in a $1 trillion annual hit to the global economy because of lost productivity, according to a recent study from the World Health Organization.


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