Exercise is thought to be a great tension reliever, and the common wisdom among experts is that 30 minutes at moderate intensity is more effective than a high-intensity workout. Now, a University of Missouri-Columbia study of 24 active women has found that high intensity is better.
The women, ages 18 to 20 and 35 to 45, took tests to measure their level of anxiety on three occasions -- before a period in which they did no exercise and again before two treadmill workouts. After each session, the anxiety assessment was repeated at intervals of up to 90 minutes.
Five minutes after exercise, the sessions produced about the same level of anxiety reduction. But at 30 minutes, those who did moderate-intensity exercise had little further change in their anxiety; those who worked at high intensity had a significant reduction. At 90 minutes, the high-intensity group had the lowest anxiety level on average.
This study is scheduled for publication in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport.
-- Dianne Partie Lange