In this day and age, everyone seems stressed out, anxious, and/or depressed, which begs the question – Is resting or running the better choice for reducing stress?
Many people believe that if you are feeling anxious or stressed out, you should try to relax. However, a recent study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise suggests that moderate exercise may help people cope with anxiety and stress better than relaxation.
Keep reading to find out which might be better for you.
In the study, researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health assessed the anxiety levels of a group of healthy college students. The anxiety levels were observed before a period of relaxation or activity, 15 minutes after the relaxation or activity, and after the students were exposed to a variety of pleasant and unpleasant photographs. The students answered 20 questions designed to assess different symptoms of anxiety during each point in the study.
The researchers found that rest and exercise were equally effective at reducing initial anxiety levels. However, after the students were shown emotionally stimulating images for 20 minutes, the anxiety levels in the group that rested returned to their initial anxiety levels, whereas the group that exercised maintained their lower levels of anxiety. This means that exercise may help buffer the effects of stress and anxiety, which is one more reason to start your day with a nice run or bike ride!
Has regular exercise helped you deal with stress and anxiety? Please share your thoughts below.