Posted on Feb 06, 2012, 6 a.m.
Among women with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), regular physical activity helps to reduce anxiety, irritability, feelings of tension, low energy and pain.
Affecting about 3% of Americans, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable worry that reduces health and quality of life. Matthew P. Herring, from the University of Georgia (Georgia, USA), and colleagues enrolled 30 sedentary women, ages 18-37 years, all of whom were diagnosed with GAD, in an intervention study. Each subject was assigned to either a six week-long program of strength or aerobic exercise training, or control group. Women in the exercise conditions completed two weekly sessions of either weight lifting or leg cycling exercise. The team observed that the women who exercised – and particularly those who performed weight lifting, were more likely to have their GAD enter remission (as determined by psychologists). As well, worry symptoms, the primary problem among individuals with GAD, were significantly reduced among the exercisers, and moderate-to-large improvements in other symptoms, such as irritability, feelings of tension, low energy and pain, were found. Writing that: “Exercise training, including [resistance exercise], is a feasible, low-risk treatment that can potentially reduce worry symptoms among [Generalized Anxiety Disorder] patients,” the study authors submit this intervention as “an effective adjuvant, short-term treatment or augmentation for [Generalized Anxiety Disorder].”
Matthew P. Herring, Marni L. Jacob, Cynthia Suveg, Rodney K. Dishman, Patrick J. O’Connor. “Feasibility of Exercise Training for the Short-Term Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Psychother Psychosom 2012;81:21–28.