most of us know Many physical benefits of exercise: weight control, lower blood pressure, lower diabetes risk and increased energy, just to name a few. But, But what about the psychological benefits of exercise? From relieving depression symptoms to keeping your memory sharpThe mental benefits of exercise are not lacking. Now, new research has shown that regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing anxiety by almost 60%, as published in the journal by the authors Boundaries in Psychiatry.
it is calculated as anxiety disorders -usually developing in the first years of a person’s life- Affects about 10% of the world’s population and it has been proven that They are two times more common in women than men. And although the exercise is presented as uA promising strategy for treating anxiety Little is known about the effect of exercise dose, intensity, or fitness level on the risk of developing anxiety disorders.
To help answer this question, Swedish researchers carried out this study participants in the world’s largest cross-country ski race (Vasaloppet) Had “significantly lower risk” of developing anxiety between 1989 and 2010 Compared to non-skiers in the same period.
The study is based on: Data of close to 400,000 people in one of the largest epidemiological studies of populations of both sexes. “We discovered that the group with a more physically active lifestyle had an almost 60% lower risk of developing anxiety disorders During the follow-up period of up to 21 years – noted the study’s first author, Martin Svensson and colleague and principal investigator, Thomas Deierborg, of the Department of Experimental Medical Sciences Lund University-. This association between a physically active lifestyle and a lower risk of anxiety observed in both men and women.
However, the authors found A noticeable difference in the level of exercise performance and risk of developing anxiety between male and female skiers. While the physical performance of a male skier did not affect the risk of developing anxiety, the higher performing group of female skiers had almost twice the risk of developing an anxiety disorder compared to the group that was physically active at the performance level.
“It’s important to emphasize – they added – The overall risk of anxiety among high achieving women was still lower compared to the most physically inactive women in the general population.
According to the researchers, these results Covering relatively unexplored regions for scientific research, given most previous studies focused on depression or mental illness, and not specifically diagnosed anxiety disorders. Also, some of the larger studies on this topic only included men, a much smaller sample size and they were limited or no tracking data to control the long-term effects of physical activity on mental health.
surprising discovery An association between physical performance and risk of anxiety disorders in women also highlighted The scientific significance of these findings for further research. “Our results show that The relationship between anxiety symptoms and exercise behavior may not be linear. -highlighted Svensson-. it is possible exercise behaviors and anxiety symptoms affected by genetic, psychological factors and personality traits, confounding factors that we could not investigate in our cohort. Studies are needed to explore the factors that trigger these differences between men and women when it comes to excessive exercise behaviors and how this affects the development of anxiety.
Finally, experts highlighted that: Randomized intervention trials are needed as well as long-term objective measures of physical activity in prospective studies. assess the validity and causality of the relationship they report. But, Does this mean that unlike any other type of exercise, skiing in particular can play an important role in keeping anxiety at bay? Not so, they stated. Svensson and Deierborg, given Previous studies have also shown the benefits of staying fit for our mental health.
”we believe that This group of cross-country skiers is a good representation of an active lifestyle, but it can also be a component of being more outdoors among skiers.. Studies focusing on specific sports may find slightly different results and magnitudes of associations, but this is most likely due to other important factors influencing mental health that are not easily controlled in research analyses.