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UGA College of Education finds exercise reduces anxiety symptoms in women
Date:1/19/2012

Athens, Ga. Approximately 3 percent of the U.S. population suffers from excessive, uncontrollable worry that reduces their health and quality of life. The condition, known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, is difficult to overcome and is accompanied by a host of physical symptoms, including fatigue, muscle tension, irritability and poor sleep. However, a new University of Georgia study shows that regular exercise can significantly reduce anxiety symptoms in patients with GAD.

In a study published online in the Nov. 22 edition of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, researchers randomly assigned 30 sedentary women, ages 18-37 who were diagnosed with GAD, to either a control group or six weeks of strength or aerobic exercise training. Women in the exercise conditions completed two weekly sessions of either weight lifting or leg cycling exercise. Remission of the disorder, determined by psychologists who were unaware of the treatment each client received, was higher among exercisers and best among those who performed weight lifting exercise. 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.

Matthew Herring, now a research associate in the department of epidemiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, led the study during his dissertation research as a doctoral student in the UGA College of Education's department of kinesiology. The team also included Patrick O'Connor and Rodney Dishman, co-directors of the UGA exercise psychology laboratory, psychology professor Cynthia Suveg and doctoral student Marni Jacob.

"Our findings add to the growing body of evidence of the positive effects of exercise training on anxiety," said Herring. "Our study is the first randomized controlled trial focused on the effects of exercise training among individ
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Contact: Pat OConnor
poconnor@uga.edu
706-542-4382
University of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert

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