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How does Exercise Reduce Anxiety?

exercice reduit anxiete

Many psychologists recommend physical exercise as first treatment against depression, anxiety, and other emotional disorders. Studies continually show that people who follow a regular exercise program see an improvement in their condition of the same order as those who are treated with medication. These results are even more impressive considering the facts that physical exercise doesn’t cost anything, and can also bring many other health benefits that are far from negligible.

A team of scientists from Princeton University have revealed that when compared with sedentary mice, the brains of a group of mice subjected to a regular exercise schedule showed increased neuronal activity (appearance of new neurons) in the ventral hippocampus, the part of the brain linked to the regulation of anxiety. Because these young neurons are typically more excitable than their more mature counterparts, we would have thought that exercise would lead to an increase of anxiety, no less! However, this study has revealed that these new neurons release GABA neurotransmitters, which in turn inhibit excessive neuronal activity. This helps to create a natural state of calm. Prescription medication against anxiety produces the same effect in the same way, by amplifying the action of GABA.

What type of exercise is more beneficial?

The type of exercise is said to be not so important. The important thing is to actually exercise! Indeed, regardless of the type of exercise you perform, you cannot go wrong. All types of exercise provide positive effects, especially if they are sufficiently challenging. Cardiovascular, muscular, and stretching exercises are all beneficial. Yoga, however, seems particularly beneficial to mental health. The effects of yoga are said to be similar to those of antidepressants and psychotherapy, by influencing neurotransmitters and increasing serotonin secretion.

So, if you only think of the long term effects when you exercise, such as avoiding sickness, losing weight, or living longer, try to use exercise as a daily tool to improve your mental state, reduce your stress level, and simply to feel happier! When the motivation to train is lacking, do it for the effects on your general well-being.

By Karine Larose

References:

http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S37/28/70Q72/

http://doctormurray.com/exercise-reduces-anxiety/

http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/07/19/exercise-anxiety-relief.aspx?e_cid=20130719_DNL_art_2&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art2&utm_campaign=20130719

Author
Karine Larose, M.Sc.

Karine Larose is a kinesiologist, Director of Marketing and Communications and Spokesperson for Nautilus Plus who specializes in fitness motivation. She authored The Guide to Healthier Living, penned the book 10-4 The Healthy Way to Lose 10 Pounds in 4 Weeks and released her third work called Zero Diet: Delicious and Healthy Recipes for Success, all by Les Éditions du TRÉCARRÉ. Karine has launched a series of exercise DVDs entitled 30 minutes par jour pour Vivre Plus and is featured on the ULTIME FIT online platform. Many TV shows and radio stations regularly request Karine’s point of view on physical exercise issues and points of interest.


How does Exercise Reduce Anxiety?is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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