Treadmill desks are in use by major corporations around the country to help employees lose weight, restore health and boost productivity. A new study shows that there is an added benefit as well: anger management.
Researchers have proven over that years that walking keeps people happier and reduces symptoms of stress and depression more effectively than the most often prescribed medications due to the production of mood enhancing substances within the brain such as serotonin and dopamine but only recently have studies shown the effectiveness of exercise in controlling bouts of anger.
A study presented at the annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine in Baltimore, MD this past June found that aerobic exercise also puts a damper on anger as well. “Exercise, even a single bout of it, can have a robust prophylactic effect” against the buildup of anger, said Nathaniel Thom, a stress physiologist who was the study’s lead researcher. “It’s like taking aspirin to combat heart disease,” he said. “You reduce your risk.”
The link between anger and serotonin though not measured in this study is well established. “Animal studies have found that low levels of serotonin are associated with aggression, which is our best analogue of anger in animals,” he said. “Exercise increases serotonin levels in the rat brain.” Low serotonin levels in humans are also thought to be a contributing factor to mood disorders.
The lesson to learn here especially for those prone to bouts of anger is to remain active as much as possible, according to Thom. His advice to those that may be entering a stressful situation with the potential for anger is to exercise first and remain active throughout the day.
Great advice however very difficult to put into practice for the average American. It is estimated that more than 70% of US workers have inactive, sedentary jobs that keep them shackled to a desk for most of the day. Combine that with 2 hour commutes and television time at home and the health results are catastrophic.
Treadmill desks offer a solution to this problem by allowing individuals to walk while they work. Studies have already shown tremendous health benefits to walking and many major corporations have installed treadmill desks to combat the ill effects of a sedentary work place. According to Dr. Thom there is a good chance that this will also lower levels of stress, anxiety and anger within the workplace as well.