Forced Exercise May Be Good for You, Too

by on May 2, 2013

Psychology experiments involving free will usually show that people are healthier when they are given the freedom to make their own choices.

But what about being forced to do something for your own good? Can it still benefit you? For instance, what about being forced to exercise?

Exercise has been repeatedly shown to be good for your health both mentally and physically. In many studies, exercise has had a lessening effect on mental health illnesses like anxiety and depression.

So if you are forced to do exercise, will you feel more anxious and depressed because of the lack of freedom? Or will you still reap the mental health benefits of getting active?

According to a new study from the University of Colorado Boulder, forced exercise actually does seem to be a good thing! The researchers created an experiment in which rats were either sedentary, active of their own accord, or made to exercise on mechanized wheels.

The researchers found that whether the rats were forced to exercise or exercised of their own free will, they still responded better to stressful events. The active rats also showed less “residual anxiety” on day following exposure to the stressor.

The rats who did not exercise were markedly more stressed out and anxious than the other rats who were active.

The researchers from Colorado hope that the findings of their study can be applied to human beings, as well. It shows that exercise programs for high schoolers, students of other ages, and people in the military may be beneficial.

For more information on the study from Colorado and what it means for humans, you can go to the original article on PsychCentral by clicking the link below.

Photo Credit: Bazzerio via Compfight cc

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