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Ever been told a good workout can help boost a bad mood? Turns out, there’s truth to that. Lots of us experience anxiety and it’s twice as common in women compared to men, but new research suggests something we can all do to combat it. According to Eat This, Not That a new study by Frontiersin finds regular exercise can cut the risk of developing anxiety disorders by about 60%.

Scientists from Lund University in Sweden tracked data on a group of close to 400-thousand people for over 20 years and about half of them were participants in the Vasaloppet, known as the world’s largest long-distance cross-country ski race. The skiers were found to have a “significantly lower risk” of developing anxiety disorders compared to the non-skiers.

“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,” explains study author Martine Svensson. This was true for both men and women in the study and it’s good news for the 10% of the world’s population affected by anxiety. While there has been a lot of previous research on the effects of exercise on depression or mental health, this large study distinguishes itself by focusing specifically on anxiety disorders.

Source: Eat This, Not That