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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Moderate weight lifting relieves anxiety

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health)--Moderate-resistance exercise, or weight-training, reduced anxiety in male and female volunteers, some of whom had no weight-lifting experience, according to researchers.
But study participants who engaged in intense resistance exercise did not experience the same benefit. The report is published in a recent issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
"The take-home message is that we found that moderate-intensity was better than high-intensity resistance exercise, particularly in regards to anxiety reduction," researcher Brian C. Focht of the University of Florida, Gainesville, told Reuters Health.
In the study, 84 volunteers (51 men and 33 women) were tested to determine their maximum resistance exercise ability. Then they were randomly divided into three groups. One group was assigned to perform four resistance exercises at a moderate 50 percent of their ability, while the second group was asked to perform at 80 percent of their ability. A third group, acting as a "control" group, was assigned to watch a video on resistance training.
The regimen included bench press, leg press, torso-arm pulldown, and overhead press exercises. The 50 percent group completed 12 to 20 repetitions of three sets of all four exercises with a 45- to 75-second recovery period between sets. The 80 percent group completed four to eight repetitions of three sets of each exercise with a 120- to 150-second rest period between exercises.

Anxiety levels, mood states, blood pressure, and heart rate were assessed before the exercise session began, immediately after it was completed and at 20, 60, 120, and 180 minutes after the session finished.
"While the results from this study indicated that state anxiety did not significantly improve following higher intensity resistance exercise, there was a significant reduction in state anxiety 180 minutes following resistance exercise performed at 50 percent," write Focht and co-author Kelli Koltyn of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Experience did not affect benefits of resistance exercise. "Thus, it is possible that a single episode of resistance exercise would be associated with similar mood benefits for both novice and experienced weightlifters," they add.
Focht and Koltyn also suggest that less intensive resistance exercise may result in better adherence to an exercise regimen than more intense workouts.
Source: Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 31:456-462.

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