Across World, Covid Anxiety and Depression Take Hold… Exercise May Be More Powerful Than Meds For Anxiety Treatment…

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PARIS — A recent cartoon in the French daily Le Monde featured a bedraggled man arriving at a doctor’s office for a Covid-19 vaccine. “I am here for the fifth shot because of the third wave,” he says. “Or vice versa.”

His bewilderment as France suffers its fifth wave of the pandemic, with cases of the Delta variant rising sharply along with Omicron anxiety, captured a mood of exhaustion and simmering anger across the world two years after the deadly virus began to spread in China.

Uncertainty bedevils plans. Panic spreads in an instant even if, as with the Omicron variant, the extent of the threat is not yet known. Vaccines look like deliverance until they seem a little less than that. National responses diverge with no discernible logic. Anxiety and depression spread. So do loneliness and screen fatigue. The feeling grows that the Covid era will go on for years, like plagues of old.

GOTHENBURG, Sweden — People who suffer from anxiety know that its effects can plague them for years, if not for much of their lives. Of course, there’s no simple remedy to entirely get rid of anxious thoughts and feelings, but recent research shows that regularly exercising for at least three months can greatly reduce anxiety levels among patients.

Current therapies for anxiety include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which can take lengthy amounts of time, and psychotropic medications that often produce adverse effects. Hoping to provide better therapeutic options, researchers from The University of Gothenburg conducted a study that demonstrates how simple exercise can effectively minimize symptoms of anxiety. This research gives those with the condition a safer and quicker treatment option for their disorder.

Physical activity has been found in earlier research to reduce the symptoms of depression. However, a comprehensive overview of how fitness affects individuals with anxiety has not yet been established. “Doctors in primary care need treatments that are individualized, have few side effects, and are easy to prescribe,” says study lead and corresponding author Maria Åberg, associate professor at the University of Gothenburg’s Sahlgrenska Academy, in a statement.

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