Dealing with stress is a constant these days. People identify work as the place that produces most of their stress and anxiety.
We handle stress in different ways. Exercise is an effective way of dealing with stress. And new research adds more evidence to the effectiveness of exercise in dealing with anxiety and worry, especially resistance training.
Resistance Training Reduces Anxiety
Studies have shown that resistance training, or weight training, is a good way to help people deal with excessive anxiety and worry. Resistance training builds up your muscular strength and endurance through pitting your muscles against an external resistance, such as a dumbbell or free weights. People also do resistance training using different types of weight machines.
The studies show reductions in anxiety when people engage in a weight training program for six weeks or more. And the weight training works for different groups, including older people, stroke survivors, and women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
Even one weight training session has shown a reduction in anxiety.
Moreover, research shows that weight training is effective in helping people get to sleep. It helps people go to sleep more quickly and to sleep more soundly.
Resistance Training Helps Control Anxiety
In addition, weight training also helps to prevent anxiety from increasing. Weight training reduces the fear of the physical sensations that people feel when they are anxious. For example, if someone experiences a rapid heartbeat, he may fear an impending heart attack, and this only increases his anxiety. And so eventually the person begins to fear the rapid heartbeat itself as much as having a heart attack.
But in one experiment, one group of subjects did 20 minutes of weight training, another group 20 minutes on a treadmill, and a third group just rested. Afterward, all three groups were asked to inhale a puff of carbon dioxide, which has the effect of making a person feel breathless for a few moments. It is a sensation similar to that caused by increased anxiety.
The experiment showed that both the weight training and the aerobic exercise on the treadmill reduced anxiety sensitivity. The resistance training helped the people to better control their anxiety.
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