Don't Worry If You Don't Love Working Out

Researchers from the University of Colorado have found that exercise can protect you from stress and anxiety, even if you're not going at your own pace, and even if you're forced to do it.

They conducted a study of hundreds of rats, dividing them into four groups: some were allowed to run in a hamster wheel at their own speed, and others were forced to run in the wheel at a pace typical of rats. A third group was forced to workout on a treadmill at an unnatural pace, and a fourth group was sedentary.

Turns out that the animals who got the most out of exercising were the ones who ran on the wheel, regardless of whether or not they could control the pace. The rodents who remained sedentary, or ran on treadmills, had higher levels of anxiety and depression.

The New York Times reports:

What this suggests, says Benjamin Greenwood, a professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado who designed and led the study, is that “even forced exercise increases stress resistance.”
If, in other words, you are being cajoled to exercise, whether by your conscience, by your partner or by some other overriding force, you nevertheless are likely to wind up feeling less anxious, more relaxed and happier afterward, even if you’re not having fun during the workout.

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