Study under review: The Effects of Resistance Exercise Training on Anxiety: A MetaAnalysis and Meta-Regression Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Picture this: You’re at a large conference with several people who work in the same field as you. Suddenly, you’re asked by your boss to give a talk on a subject you know nothing about. That thought alone can cause some people anxiety.
The feeling is a double-edged sword. Small amounts of anxiety are beneficial, keeping you on your toes in situations where things can go wrong. You want to be a bit anxious, not bored, if you’re in the presence of a man-eating animal, for example. But too much of the feeling in the wrong context can be problematic, and have a negative effect on your life.
Anxiety disorders, which describe severe and chronic anxiety, are, as a group, one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. The worldwide prevalence of different anxiety disorders is shown in Figure 1. In the U.S., nearly 15% of people report frequent symptoms of anxiety. These disorders are often associated with other mental disorders, such as depression, and are often linked to poor health outcomes and risky behavior.
First-line treatments for anxiety disorders include the use of antidepressant drugs and/or cognitive behavioral therapy. Unfortunately, both of these treatments have poor adherence rates, and antidepressant drugs can often cause adverse events. Furthermore, not everyone can easily access these kinds of treatments.
Exercise, an activity accessible to most people, has been investigated as an alternative treatment for lowering anxiety. So far, a large body of evidence seems to support the anti-anxiety effects of aerobic exercise in mostly healthy people and in people with anxiety disorders. However, there haven’t been large reviews of the effects of resistance exercise training (RET) on symptoms of anxiety until now. The study under review sought to examine whether RET is an effective intervention for lowering symptoms of anxiety.
Anxiety is an adaptive response that can be useful in the right amounts, but disabling when it is too high in the wrong context. First-line treatments for excessive anxiety are hampered by accessibility, adherence, and adverse events. Alternative treatments like aerobic exercise training (AET) have been established as moderately effective interventions for lowering symptoms of anxiety, but resistance exercise training (RET) hasn’t been as thoroughly investigated for its effects until recently.
Other Articles in Issue #36 (October 2017)
Interview: Kelsey Kinney, MS, RD
Registered dietitian, blogger, and podcaster Kelsey Kinney shares her wealth of knowledge about how gut bacteria can impact digestive health, and discusses how the concept of functional medicine plays a role in her work.
Interview: Brad Schoenfeld, PhD, CSCS
Have questions about load’s effect on hypertrophy, supplements with the strongest evidence base, and effective weight loss strategies? Researcher and renowned body composition expert Brad Schoenfeld has answers.
Blood sugar and spice
Cinnamon’s been used for medicinal purposes for millennia. Research from the past few decades suggests it may also be useful for controlling blood sugar. But is it?
Can dieting actually suppress food craving?
It makes sense that the body would signal the brain to crave certain nutrients during dieting, since overall nutrient intake is cut. The truth may be a little more complicated.
Be the tortoise or the hare: it doesn’t matter for fat loss
Interval training and moderate-intensity aerobic exercise can affect the body in different ways. But do these differences extend to fat loss?
Antioxidants for the eyes: can they prevent or delay age-related macular degeneration?
AMD is a major cause of vision loss, and may be tied to the high amount of oxidative stress the eyes undergo. Some antioxidants could help delay its progression.
Something smells fishy: is your fish oil oxidized?
Previous research found that a lot of fish oil being sold in New Zealand was subpar. Newer research out of Australia says otherwise.