The Ultimate Tranquilizer? Exercise and Its Influence on Anxiety

Steven J. Petruzzello

in The Oxford Handbook of Exercise Psychology

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780195394313
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The Ultimate Tranquilizer? Exercise and Its Influence on Anxiety


One of the most popular research topics in exercise psychology has been the effect of exercise on anxiety. Exercise has been examined as a potential tool for preventing and treating anxiety and anxiety disorders for several decades. Indeed, an extensive literature examining the relationship between exercise and anxiety has accumulated over the last 40 years. The topic was important enough for a National Institute of Mental Health “state-of-the-art workshop” in 1984, out of which came the understanding that the anxiety-reducing effect of exercise was an important topic requiring further investigation. While much has been accomplished since the publication of the Morgan and Goldston (1987) text which resulted from the NIMH workshop, much remains unknown regarding the relationship between exercise and anxiety. This chapter summarizes what is known, what isn't yet known, and what remains to be done to make good on the “potential efficacy of exercise” (Morgan & Goldston, 1987, p. 5).

Keywords: exercise; anxiolysis; anxiety sensitivity; state anxiety; trait anxiety; panic disorder; tranquilizer effect; biological challenge; dose response

Article.  13069 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Health Psychology ; Social Psychology

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