Numerous studies have examined the positive effects of exercise on improving mood. However, little research has been designed to investigate the effect of exercise on feelings of anger. A recent study presented at American College of Sports Medicine’s 57th Annual Meeting in Baltimore discovered that exercise might have a beneficial affect on anger in men.

A research team assessed angry mood and emotions in 16 collegiate men high in “trait anger.” The subjects viewed anger-inducing scenes before and after 30 minutes of leg-cycling exercise at 65 percent of their maximal oxygen uptake. The investigators measured oscillatory brain activity, the event-related late-positive potential (LPP), and self-reports of anger intensity during picture viewing.

“The major novel finding from this study is that exercise protected against angry mood induction, almost like taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack,” said lead investigator Nathaniel Thom, Ph.D., a stress physiologist. “In other words, exercise really is like medicine. However, exercise did not change EEG responses during elicitation of angry emotions in our subjects.”

With this initial research as a backdrop, Thom and his team suggest that future studies explore the mechanisms underlying the effect of exercise on reducing angry mood, and should consider alternative anger-induction methods for study purposes.

The investigators also propose testing the effects of chronic exercise training on anger and its expression. A long-term exercise regimen may deliver different results.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine