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If you participate in moderate exercise like bike riding after a workout, you may be better able to deal with the anxiety and stress of your life. Research shows exercise boosts mood, but that is not the same as influencing emotional state. Exercise can also reduce the urge to eat, which can help people control their diets and stress eating.
However, research has not yet shown whether exercise has a lasting effect on everyday stressors.
Researchers looked at how 30 minutes of moderate intensity cycling versus a 30 minute period of quiet rest affected anxiety levels on a group of healthy college aged students. Carson Smith, assistant professor in the department of Kinesiology, the University of Maryland, and team led the study. Volunteers were tested for anxiety levels before the activity period, 15 minutes after the activity period, and after showing them a combination of pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral photos.
Originally both approaches – moderate exercise and quiet rest – appeared to be similarly effective for reducing anxiety levels. However, once shown the photos, the anxiety levels of those who rested returned to their initial levels, and those who exercised maintained their reduced anxiety levels.
“The set of photographic stimuli we used from the IAPS database was designed to simulate the range of emotional events you might experience in daily life. They represent pleasant emotional events, neutral events and unpleasant events or stimuli. These vary from pictures of babies, families, puppies and appetizing food items, to very neutral things like plates, cups, furniture and city landscapes, to very unpleasant images of violence, mutilations and other gruesome things,” explained Smith.
Source: University of Maryland, MedicalNewsToday
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