Evaluation of a brief aerobic exercise intervention for high anxiety sensitivity

Anxiety Stress Coping. 2008 Apr;21(2):117-28. doi: 10.1080/10615800701762675.


Anxiety sensitivity, or the belief that anxiety-related sensations can have negative consequences, has been shown to play an important role in the etiology and maintenance of panic disorder and other anxiety-related pathology. Aerobic exercise involves exposure to physiological cues similar to those experienced during anxiety reactions. The present study sought to investigate the efficacy of a brief aerobic exercise intervention for high anxiety sensitivity. Accordingly, 24 participants with high anxiety sensitivity scores (Anxiety Sensitivity Index-Revised scores >28) were randomly assigned to complete either six 20-minute sessions of aerobic exercise or a no-exercise control condition. The results indicated that individuals assigned to the aerobic exercise condition reported significantly less anxiety sensitivity subsequent to exercise, whereas anxiety sensitivity scores among non-exercisers did not significantly change. The clinical research and public health implications of these findings are discussed, and several potential directions for additional research are recommended.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety Disorders / physiopathology
  • Anxiety Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male