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Psychiatry Res. 2017 Mar;249:102-108. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2016.12.020. Epub 2017 Jan 6.

An examination of the anxiolytic effects of exercise for people with anxiety and stress-related disorders: A meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Physiotherapy Department, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ, United Kingdom; Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom.
2
Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom; KU Leuven - University of Leuven Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Leuven, Belgium.
3
KU Leuven - University of Leuven, Z.org Leuven, campus Kortenberg, Kortenberg, Belgium.
4
Department of Exercise Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
5
Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
6
MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL, 33 Bedford Place, London WC1B 5JU, United Kingdom.
7
Department of Medicine, Geriatrics Section, University of Padova, Italy; Programa de Pós Graduação em Ciências Médicas: Psiquiatria, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.
8
Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Centro Universitário La Salle, Canoas, Brazil. Electronic address: felipe.schuch@unilasalle.edu.br.

Abstract

The literature regarding exercise for people with established anxiety disorders is equivocal. To address this issue, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis investigating the benefits of exercise compared to usual treatment or control conditions in people with an anxiety and/or stress-related disorders. Major electronic databases were searched from inception until December/2015 and a random effect meta-analysis conducted. Altogether, six randomized control trials (RCTs) including 262 adults (exercise n=132, 34.74 [9.6] years; control n=130, 37.34 [10.0] years) were included. Exercise significantly decreased anxiety symptoms more than control conditions, with a moderate effect size (Standardized Mean Difference=-0.582, 95%CI -1.0 to -0.76, p=0.02). Our data suggest that exercise is effective in improving anxiety symptoms in people with a current diagnosis of anxiety and/ or stress-related disorders. Taken together with the wider benefits of exercise on wellbeing and cardiovascular health, these findings reinforce exercise as an important treatment option in people with anxiety/stress disorders.

KEYWORDS:

Anxiety; Exercise; Physical activity; Stress

PMID:
28088704
DOI:
10.1016/j.psychres.2016.12.020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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