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Effects of Aerobic Exercise on Anxiety Disorders: A Systematic Review

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Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric disorders observed currently. It is a normal adaptive response to stress that allows coping with adverse situations. Nevertheless, when anxiety becomes excessive or disproportional in relation to the situation that evokes it or when there is not any special object directed at it, such as an irrational dread of routine stimuli, it becomes a disabling disorder and is considered to be pathological. The traditional treatment used is medication and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, however, last years the practice of physical exercise, specifically aerobic exercise, has been investigated as a new non-pharmacological therapy for anxiety disorders. Thus, the aim of this article was to provide information on research results and key chains related to the therapeutic effects of aerobic exercise compared with other types of interventions to treat anxiety, which may become a useful clinical application in a near future. Researches have shown the effectiveness of alternative treatments, such as physical exercise, minimizing high financial costs and minimizing side effects. The sample analyzed, 66.8% was composed of women and 80% with severity of symptoms anxiety as moderate to severe. The data analyzed in this review allows us to claim that alternative therapies like exercise are effective in controlling and reducing symptoms, as 91% of anxiety disorders surveys have shown effective results in treating. However, there is still disagreement regarding the effect of exercise compared to the use of antidepressant symptoms and cognitive function in anxiety, this suggests that there is no consensus on the correct intensity of aerobic exercise as to achieve the best dose-response, with intensities high to moderate or moderate to mild.
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Keywords: Anxiety; aerobic exercise; cognitive functions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2015

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  • CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in neurological and central nervous system (CNS) disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in neurological and CNS disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for neurological and CNS drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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