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Mental health
Physical activity reduces symptoms of anxiety, but further research is needed to determine a preventative effect
  1. Shaminder Singh1,
  2. Lin Yang1,2,3
  1. 1Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  2. 2Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research, Cancer Control Alberta, AHS, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  3. 3Department of Oncology, University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Shaminder Singh, Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine, Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6, Canada; shasingh{at}ucalgary.ca

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Commentary on: McDowell, C, Dishman, RK, Gordon, BR, et al. Physical activity and anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. AmJPrevMed 2019;574:545–56.

Implications for practice and research

  • The burden of anxiety disorders and symptoms can potentially be reduced by increasing physical activity at the population level.

  • More studies require using prospective designs and rigorous measures for assessing anxiety and dosing of physical activity.

Context

Anxiety is a debilitating1 and costly chronic illness.2 Pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders and symptoms can be challenging with side effects and expensive for many,3 which makes prevention strategies critical. Physical activity has been previously shown to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.4 Whether physical activity may be effective in preventing anxiety has not yet been previously investigated, presenting a knowledge gap and …

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Footnotes

  • Twitter @ShaminderSingh

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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