The study was published in the journal of ‘Frontiers in Psychiatry’ and it indicates that if a group of people live a more physically active lifestyle. They have an almost 60 percent lower risk of developing anxiety disorder over a follow-up period of up to 21 years.
” This association between a physically active lifestyle and a lower risk of anxiety was seen in both men and women,” said researcher Martine Svensson from Lund University in Sweden.
A quick online search for ways to improve our mental health will often come up with a myriad of different results. One of the most common suggestions put forward as a step to suggestions put forward as a step to achieving wellness and preventing future issues. All of this is doing some physical exercise, whether it be a walk or playing a team sport.
To help answer the question researchers in Sweden have shown that those who took part in the world’s largest long-distance cross-country ski race (Vasaloppet) between 1989 and 2010 had a “significantly lower risk” of developing anxiety compared to non-skiers during the same period.
How does anxiety disorder develop?
Anxiety disorder typically develops early in a person’s life all of that is estimated to affect approximately 10 percent of the world’s population and is twice as common in women compared to men.
All of the studies are based on the data from almost 400,000 people in one of the largest ever population-wide epidemiology studies across both sexes. A noticeable difference was found by the authors in exercising performance level and the risk of developing anxiety between male and female skiers.
A male skier’s physical performance did not appear to effects the risk of developing anxiety, the highest performing group of female skiers had almost double the risk of developing anxiety disorder compared to the group which was physically active at a lower performance level.
“Importantly, they said the total risk of getting anxiety among high-performing women was still lower compared to the more physically inactive women in the general population,” the authors said.
All of these findings cover relatively uncharted territory for scientific research according to the researchers as most precious studies focused on depression or mental illness as opposed to specifically diagnosed anxiety disorder. Furthermore, some of the largest studies that are looking at his topic only included men, were much smaller in sample size and had either limited or no follow-up data to track the long-term effects of physical activity on mental health.
“Exercise behaviors and anxiety symptoms are likely to be affected by genetics, psychological factors, and personality traits, confounders that were not possible to investigate in our cohort. Studies investigating the driving factors behind these differences between men and women when it comes to extreme exercise behaviors and how it affects the development of anxiety is needed,” Svensson added.
“Our results suggest that the relation between symptoms of anxiety and exercise behavior may not be linear,” Svensson said.
Studies focusing on specific sports may find slightly different results and magnitude of the associations, but this is most likely due to the other important factors that affect mental health and which one cannot easily control in research analysis, according to the researchers.