BALTIMORE – Numerous studies have examined the positive effects of exercise on improving mood. However, little research has been designed to investigate the effect of exercise on feelings of anger. A recent study presented at American College of Sports Medicine’s 57th Annual Meeting in Baltimore discovered that exercise might have a beneficial affect on anger in men.
A research team assessed angry mood and emotions in 16 collegiate men high in “trait anger.” The subjects viewed anger-inducing scenes before and after 30 minutes of leg-cycling exercise at 65 percent of their maximal oxygen uptake. The investigators measured oscillatory brain activity, the event-related late-positive potential (LPP), and self-reports of anger intensity during picture viewing.
“The major novel finding from this study is that exercise protected against angry mood induction, almost like taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack,” said lead investigator Nathaniel Thom, Ph.D., a stress physiologist. “In other words, exercise really is like medicine. However, exercise did not change EEG responses during elicitation of angry emotions in our subjects.”
With this initial research as a backdrop, Thom and his team suggest that future studies explore the mechanisms underlying the effect of exercise on reducing angry mood, and should consider alternative anger-induction methods for study purposes.
The investigators also propose testing the effects of chronic exercise training on anger and its expression. A long-term exercise regimen may deliver different results.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.
The conclusions outlined in this news release are those of the researchers only, and should not be construed as an official statement of the American College of Sports Medicine.