New study shows exercise may protect against future emotional stress
Moderate exercise may help people cope with anxiety and stress for an extended period of time post-workout, according to a study by kinesiology researchers in the University of Maryland School of Public Health published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
"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," explains J. Carson Smith, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology. "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."
Smith, whose research explores how exercise and physical activity affect brain function, aging and mental health, compared how moderate intensity cycling versus a period of quiet rest (both for 30 minutes) affected anxiety levels in a group of healthy college students. He assessed their anxiety state before the period of activity (or rest), shortly afterward (15 minutes after) and finally after exposing them to a variety of highly arousing pleasant and unpleasant photographs, as well as neutral images. At each point, study participants answered 20 questions from the State-Trait Anxiety inventory, which is designed to assess different symptoms of anxiety. All participants were put through both the exercise and the rest states (on different days) and tested for anxiety levels pre-exercise, post-exercise, and post-picture viewing.
Smith found that exercise and quiet rest were equally effective at reducing anxiety levels initially. However, once they were emotionally stimulated (by being shown 90 photographs from the International Affective Picture System, a database of photographs used in emotion research) for ~20 minutes, the anxiety levels of those who had simply rested went back up to their initial levels, whereas those who had exercised maintained their reduced anxiety levels.
"The set of photographic stimuli we used from the IAPS database was designed to simulate the range of emotional events you might experience in daily life," Smith explains. "They represent pleasant emotional events, neutral events and unpleasant events or stimuli. These vary from pictures of babies, families, puppies and appetizing food items, to very neutral things like plates, cups, furniture and city landscapes, to very unpleasant images of violence, mutilations and other gruesome things."
The study findings suggest that exercise may play an important role in helping people to better endure life's daily anxieties and stressors.
Smith plans to explore if exercise could have the same persistent beneficial effect in patients who regularly experience anxiety and depression symptoms. In collaboration with the new Maryland Neuroimaging Center, he is also exploring the addition of functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to measure brain activity during the period of exposure to emotionally stimulating images to see how exercise may alter the brain's emotion-related neural networks.
Smith also investigates the role of exercise in preventing cognitive decline in older adults. His research has shown that physical activity promotes changes in the brain that may protect those at high risk for Alzheimer's disease.
More information: His article, "Effects of Emotional Exposure on State Anxiety after Acute Exercise," was published online ahead of print on Aug. 14, 2012 in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. www.exerciseforbra… publications
Provided by University of Maryland
- Voluntary exercise does not appear to alleviate anxiety and depression Aug 04, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Regular exercise reduces patient anxiety by 20 percent, study finds Feb 22, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Walk away menopausal anxiety, stress and depression Jan 03, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Study: Exercise should be prescribed more often for depression, anxiety Apr 01, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Physical activity yields feelings of excitement, enthusiasm Feb 08, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Talking on a hands-free device while behind the wheel can lead to a sharp increase in errors that could imperil other drivers on the road, according to new research from the University of Alberta.
Health 45 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—More than one in four of those eligible for new premium assistance tax credits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) do not have a checking account and will not be able to receive premiums from ...
Health 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
After studying noise in one French Quarter neighborhood of New Orleans to determine whether or not noise levels exceeded municipal ordinances, Annette Hurley, PhD, Assistant Professor of Audiology at LSU Health Sciences Center ...
Health 4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Young children who missed more than half of recommended well-child visits had up to twice the risk of hospitalization compared to children who attended most of their visits, according to a study published today in the American Jo ...
Health 4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
The individualisation of drug treatments to support patients to self-manage their conditions is a concept that sits at the heart of policy, but a recent study in BMJ Open shows that there is no concrete defini ...
Health 6 hours ago | 3 / 5 (1) | 0
(AP)—Government health officials are investigating several health problems reported with potentially contaminated medications made by a Tennessee specialty pharmacy.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Two mutations central to the development of infantile myofibromatosis (IM)—a disorder characterized by multiple tumors involving the skin, bone, and soft tissue—may provide new therapeutic targets, according to researchers ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—A new study by researchers in the US has shown that an ancient virus can be modified to help in the fight against the simian immunodeficiency virus SIV, which is the equivalent in monkeys ...
6 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Women at a particular stage in their monthly menstrual cycle may be more vulnerable to some of the psychological side-effects associated with stressful experiences, according to a study from UCL.
3 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Biological processes are generally based on events at the molecular and cellular level. To understand what happens in the course of infections, diseases or normal bodily functions, scientists would need to ...
4 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Regulating the distribution of power in neurons is done by a system that makes the national electric grid look simple by comparison. Each neuron has several thousand mitochondria confined ...
22 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (9) | 0 |