According To New Research, Skiers May Be At Reduced Risk For Anxiety

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : September 17, 2021

Slaloms over snow are a winter tradition, but they may also have positive effects on one’s mental health. According to research published Friday inside the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, those who ski had a roughly 60 percent reduced chance of being diagnosed with anxiety and depression than people who did not ski.

Physical exercise has long been seen as a “promising approach” by mental health professionals to prevent anxiety, which impacts up to ten percent of the world’s population or alleviates the symptoms of the condition.

According To New Research, Skiers May Be At Reduced Risk For Anxiety

Previously conducted research, however, according to the current study’s authors, has been inconclusive regarding the impact of workout amount or intensity, as well as physical fitness level, on the likelihood of developing anxiety symptoms and whether or not these relationships differ between males and females.

A number of scientists have also speculated that any connection between high levels of physical exercise and a reduced incidence of social anxiety may be due to undetected anxiety symptoms that prohibit those who are susceptible from participating in physical activity.

According To New Research, Skiers May Be At Reduced Risk For Anxiety

They compared 197,685 Swedish individuals who joined in Vasaloppet, the world’s biggest long-distance ski race, measuring 56 miles (90 kilometers) in length between 1989 and 2010, to 197,684 adults who had comparable health profiles but did not engage in skiing during the same period.

In general, Vasaloppet skiers were in better health than non-skiers; they did not have any serious illness or mental problems, but they performed more physical activity in their spare time, smoked less, tried to eat healthier foods, and died at a lower rate than non-skiers. Participation in the Vasaloppet requires consistent, long-term training in order to prepare for the event.

A total of 1,649 individuals were diagnosed having anxiety disorders after a typical follow-up time of ten years in this study.

Skiers had a 60 percent reduced chance of being diagnosed with anxiety and depression when compared with untreated, according to research author Martina Svensson. This was true independent of education level, age, or gender.

According to the study, the time it took skiers to complete the race, which the authors used as a measure of physical performance, had no effect on the risk of anxiety disorders among male skiers.

According to the scientists, the difference between men and women when it comes to the effect of physical ability on anxiety risk may be due to their physiological reactions to exercise being significantly different from one another. Women have reported higher levels of tension and fatigue after physical activity in previous studies.

Alternatively, the authors speculate that higher-performing female skiers may be more susceptible to anxiety as a result of psychological factors such as anxiety for one’s appearance, which has been found to be more prevalent among female active individuals, and self-perception of one’s physical fitness level, that can drive intense exercise and increase anxiety, among other things.

Additionally, as per the research, the better physical performance of these women might suggest that they were already suffering from anxiety but had gone unnoticed.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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