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Use exercise to beat anxiety

Use exercise to beat anxiety

Exercise is obviously good for your health and it's known to help boost mood too, but now it's been claimed it could have an even bigger impact on your mental wellbeing.

According to new research, people who spend large amounts of time lounging around at home are at an increased risk of suffering anxiety and panic attacks. This was found to be true for people who took up camp on sofas to watch TV, go online or play video games.

Not being active enough has already been linked to health issues like heart disease and diabetes, plus it's long been thought it can play a part in depression. Megan Teychenne, lead researcher and lecturer at Deakin University Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (C-PAN) in Australia, explained this was why her team felt it would be good to investigate whether sedentary behaviour and anxiety could be linked.

Nine studies were put under the microscope, taking in things like people who had to sit to get to work, those who were seated all day at the office and groups who chose to spend their spare time seated and online.

In four of them, there appeared to be a connection between sitting and increased risk of anxiety, with others showing that being less active also had an impact on mental wellbeing.

"It is important that we understand the behavioural factors that may be linked to anxiety - in order to be able to develop evidence-based strategies in preventing/managing this illness. Our research showed that evidence is available to suggest a positive association between sitting time and anxiety symptoms - however, the direction of this relationship still needs to be determined through longitudinal and interventional studies," Megan said.

Anxiety can be a debilitating illness that ranges in severity. While some level is normal when in a stressful situation, like having to take an exam or job interview, it shouldn't impact your day-to-day life. Those who do suffer at a higher level might find they constantly feel worried but can't put their finger on why and experience an increased, pounding, heartbeat. Often they obsessively check things too, while if the issue is really severe, they may struggle to leave the house or find certain situations so stressful, they have a full-blown panic attack.

It's not known why more time spent on the sofa could prompt anxiety, but it's possible that those who stay indoors are more prone to it anyway.

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