Want 60% less anxiety? Exercise, study says

With Americans still stressing out in a post-2020 world, there’s some good news and bad news out of a recent study.

The good? Researchers have confirmed a way to cut your risk of developing anxiety disorders by 60%. The bad? You have to get off your couch to do it. 

In one of their largest studies ever, scientists at Sweden’s Lund University examined data from almost 400,000 people, using participants in the world’s longest cross-country ski race as some of their subjects. The competitors, who raced between 1989 and 2010, were found to have “significantly lower risk” of developing anxiety compared to non-skiiers in that same time period.

And their activity levels continued to pay dividends, study author Martine Svensson said in a media release: “We found that the group with a more physically active lifestyle had an almost 60% lower risk of developing anxiety disorders over a follow-up period of up to 21 years.”

The exercise  benefit worked for both men and women, say the scientists, who noted you don’t need to cross-country ski to see such perks. However, they allow that being outdoors when you exercise, as the skiers in the study were, could enhance that stress-busting.