Research Impact Summary: Physical activity guidelines were developed primarily based on established physical health benefits. Evidence for the mental health benefits of meeting the guidelines is growing, but benefits for anxiety remain understudied. The current study of over 7500 Irish adults supported benefits of physical activity for anxiety, with people who met the guidelines less likely to report anxiety symptoms indicative of an anxiety disorder. Although these findings are cross-sectional and a bi-directional association is likely, these findings support previous prospective cohort and experimental evidence for the mental health benefits of physical activity.
McDowell CP, Carlin A, Capranica L, Dillon C, Harrington JM, Lakerveld J, Loyen A, Ling FCM, Brug J, MacDonncha C, Herring MP (2020). Associations of self-reported physical activity and anxiety symptoms and status among 7,874 Irish adults across harmonized datasets: A DEDIPAC-study. BMC Public Health, 20:365. (IF: 2.567; Q2 Public, Environmental & Occupational Health; R=59/185). DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-08481-3