Anxiety Effectively Treated with Exercise

Young Asian sporty couple watching live or video tutorial practice yoga lesson at home together. healthy man and woman Stretching and balancing body on exercise mat. wellness relaxing lifestyleA new study from the University of Gothenburg has found that both moderate and strenuous exercise may alleviate anxiety symptoms. Researchers believe that even when the disorder is chronic, exercise can play an essential role in helping to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.

Published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the study was based on 286 patients with anxiety. All patients were recruited from primary care services in Gothenburg in the northern part of Halland county. Half of the participants had lived with anxiety for at least ten years, 70 percent were women, and their average age was 39.


All participants were assigned to group exercise sessions that were either moderate or strenuous for 12 weeks. Both treatment groups had 60-minute training sessions three times a week.

The sessions included cardio and strength training. A warmup was followed by circle training around 12 stations for 45 minutes and sessions and cool down and stretching.

Most participants in the treatment groups went from a baseline level of moderate to high anxiety to low-level anxiety after the 12-week program. Those who were in the low-intensity group had an improvement in anxiety symptoms by a factor of 3.62. The corresponding factor for those who exercise with higher intensity was 4.88.

Overall, the results showed that participants’ anxiety symptoms were significantly alleviated even when it was chronic anxiety. Researchers believe this study is an important step in understanding how physical health can greatly affect cognitive health.

Clear Symptom Improvements


Previous studies had shown clear symptom improvements with physical exercise. However, a true picture of how people with anxiety are affected by exercise was lacking.

Treatment for anxiety includes cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychotropic drugs. However, these drugs commonly have side effects, and those with anxiety disorders do not typically respond well to medical treatment. There are also long wait times for CBT.

Malin Henriksson, the lead author, said, “Doctors in primary care need treatments that are individualized, have few side effects, and are easy to prescribe. The model involving 12 weeks of physical training, regardless of intensity, represents an effective treatment that should be made available in primary care more often for people with anxiety issues.”

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.