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Study: People at risk for panic buffered from stressor by high levels of physical activity
Date:7/12/2011

That's been widely studied as one of the risk factors for development of anxiety disorders, mostly panic. And it's a robust risk factor in that it's been replicated in several studies."

Physical activity + fear of panic sensations = less reactivity to panic-relevant stressor

For the latest study, the researchers measured anxiety reactivity to a panic-related stressor, namely the inhalation of carbon dioxide-enriched air.

Study participants were 145 adult volunteers who had no history of panic attacks. After completing questionnaires measuring their physical activity and anxiety sensitivity, the participants inhaled a mixture of room air enriched with carbon dioxide, a benign procedure that typically induces a number of bodily sensations, including nausea, racing heart, dizziness, stomachaches and shortness of breath.

After inhalation, participants indicated their level of anxiety in reaction to the sensations.

The results showed that anxiety reactivity to the stressor was dampened among individuals who have been regularly engaging in high levels of physical activity.


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Contact: Margaret Allen
mallen@smu.edu
214-768-7664
Southern Methodist University
Source:Eurekalert  

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