Anger Management: Can Exercise Help?
Sixteen college-aged men who were characterized to be "high in trait-anger" viewed a slideshow with anger-inducing scenes before and after performing 30 minutes of leg-cycling exercise at a moderate-intensity (65%VO2-max). As the subjects watched the presentation, investigators evaluated their brain oscillatory activity, the event-related late-positive potential (a representation of brain electrical activity during emotionally arousing pictures), and self-reports of anger intensity. The data that was collected indicated that an acute bout of exercise can prevent anger from being induced. However, once anger was elicited, there was not a significant difference in the intensity of anger felt nor was there a significant change in brain activity during the slideshow when comparing the results between the resting and exercise trials.
The authors conclude acute exercise can protect against angry mood induction. However, the investigators indicate that further investigations that focus on the mechanism by which exercise may reduce an angry mood, as well as studies that evaluate the effect of long-term exercise training on anger management, are warranted.
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions>
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Vol.42 NO. 5 Supplement "The Effects of ann Acute Bout of Moderate Intensity Exercise on Anger and EEG Responses During Elicitation of Angry Emotion," Thom, N.J. et al,.