New research shows people at risk for one type of anxiety disorder, panic, are helped by high levels of physical activity.
People with an intense fear of the nausea, racing heart, dizziness, stomachaches and shortness of breath that accompany panic, known as “high anxiety sensitivity,” reacted with less anxiety to a panic-inducing stressor if they had been engaging in high levels of physical activity, said researchers at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and the University of Vermont in Burlington, in a press release.
“Anxiety sensitivity is an established risk factor for the development of panic and related disorders,” said SMU psychologist Jasper Smits, lead author on the research. “This study suggests that this risk factor may be less influential among persons who routinely engage in high levels of physical activity.”
Smits reported the findings in “The Interplay Between Physical Activity and Anxiety Sensitivity in Fearful Responding to Carbon Dioxide Challenge,” an article that has published online and is in press with the scientific journal Psychosomatic Medicine.