Exercise and Obsessive-Compulsive Symptomatology
Gibbs, Jason M.
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Exercise has been used successfully as a treatment for anxiety and depression. It has been found to have acute and long-term anxiolytic effects and to improve mood in people of various ages, both sexes, and diverse types of settings (e.g., clinical, college, etc.). The evidence for exercise as a treatment for OCD is less well substantiated, with only 3 known small-scale studies addressing it. While preliminary evidence suggests that aerobic exercise leads to reduced symptoms of OCD in subjects, it has not addressed people with subthreshold OC symptoms, effects of anaerobic exercise on OC symptoms or how certain subtypes of OC symptom respond to exercise. In present study university students completed self-report questionnaires in order to address these issues. Higher levels of exercise were correlated with increased levels of positive feeling and higher levels of pathological exercising. However, no correlation between exercise and depression was found. Correlations between exercise and OC scores were few, but the ones present were in the opposite direction from what was predicted, and exercise correlated positively more frequently with certain subtypes of OCD than others.