Exercise for Anxiety

  • End date
    Nov 8, 2025
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    NYU Langone Health
Updated on 8 August 2021


90 sedentary adults with a primary anxiety disorder and high anxiety sensitivity will be randomized to either 8 weeks of 1) low intensity exercise, or 2) flexible titration to high intensity exercise (HIE). Blinded, validated clinician-rated and patient-rated outcomes will be assessed over treatment and at 1- and 3-month follow-up. To better understand what mechanisms influence decisions to exercise in the real-world, we will use of heart rate (HR) as an objective mechanistic target for exercise intensity, examine changes in valuation of exercise through a neuroeconomics task, examine changes in interoceptive sensitivity with a heartbeat detection task, and integrate of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to measure effects of immediate changes in mood with exercise on anxiety outcomes and adherence.

Condition ANXIETY NEUROSIS, Anxiety, Anxiety Symptoms, Anxiety Disorders, anxiety disorder, anxious
Treatment Titration to high intensity exercise (T-HIE), Low intensity exercise prescription
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04638946
SponsorNYU Langone Health
Last Modified on8 August 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Males and females ages 18-65
Primary psychiatric diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, or panic disorder
Anxiety Sensitivity Index-3 score of 23 (i.e., high anxiety sensitivity)
Currently sedentary (60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week for the past 3 months)
Body mass index 35
Able and willing to provide informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

Lifetime history of Bipolar I or II or any psychotic disorder
Bulimia or anorexia in the past 6 months
Substance use disorder in the past 3 months
Current PTSD (past PTSD is allowed)
High current suicide risk (active suicidal ideation with plan and intent) as indicated by a score of 4 on the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS) consistent with a need for referral to higher level of care
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