Many medical studies have documented the positive effects of exercise on improving mood. To date, very few research studies have been conducted to evaluate the impact of exercise on angry feelings.  Recently, a small study presented at the 57th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine found that exercise has a beneficial on anger in men.


Researchers examined angry mood and emotions in 16 college men possessing  high  “trait anger.” They viewed anger causing scenes prior to and after exercising. Their brain wave activity was measured, 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 these findings, Dr. Thom and his colleagues recommend that that future studies evaluate the physiological changes exercise promotes in reducing angry mood.


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.


The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 35,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.