By Ashleigh Perriott
Next big presentation giving you an ulcer? Go for a bike ride before work.
New research from the University of Maryland, US, has found that just 30 minutes of moderate exercise can reduce your stress levels even after you’ve cooled down.
Researchers measured anxiety levels of 37 healthy young adults before a 30-minute exercise period, then 15 minutes later, and then after showing them 90 images from the International Affective Picture System (which had all been designed to stimulate both positive and negative emotions and mimic the emotional range of daily life). Anxiety levels were compared with a similar control test on a separate day, where participants were rested sitting down for 30 minutes in place of the exercise, and anxiety levels tested at the same three intervals.
While both exercise and rest were equally successful at lowering the original anxiety levels, the researchers found students maintained their lower anxiety level on the day they’d cycled, while on the rest day anxiety levels spiked back up to original measurement.
More research is needed to see how long the positive effects from exercise lasts, and if it has the same level of benefits for those who experience anxiety and depression, but we reckon this study makes a case for slipping some extra endorphins into your mornings.
On yer bikes, then!