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Exercise may help ward off anxiety: study

September 19, 2012

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College Park, MD – Moderate exercise may help people cope with anxiety, according to a recent study (.pdf file) from the University of Maryland.

Researchers assessed healthy college students before and after engaging in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cycling or 30 minutes of seated rest. The students then were exposed to emotional stimuli through images, which varied from pleasant (puppies) to neutral (plates) and unpleasant (violence).

Both exercise and rest reduced anxiety in the first assessment. However, after being shown the images, students who had only rested were more anxious than the students who had exercised.

The study was published online Aug. 14 in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

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