Does Exercise Help Anxiety?

Are you struggling to get through the day without an anxiety attack? If it’s time for you to take control of your life and stop the anxiety you are at the right place. No matter how debilitating your own anxiety, there are natural remedies that can help. And if you’re not exercising regularly, it’s time to get started.

Does Exercise Help Anxiety?

Rest assured that exercise is one of the most effective methods to help anxiety and depression. Most people today realize that exercise is great for heart health and maintaining a healthy weight.

But, exercises such as running, biking, swimming, walking, or resistance training with weights and resistance tubes can dramatically reduce anxiety levels.

How Does Exercise Help Anxiety?

We all know that exercise is not very high on the to do list when you’re dealing with anxiety. But the fact is, it should probably be the first thing you think of?

There’s plenty of research indicating the positive benefits of exercise on both anxiety and depression. In fact, physical activity is known to help reduce anxiety, improve your mood, and aid in solving the problem long term.

The physical symptoms of anxiety are caused by the ‘flight-or-fight’ response, which floods the body with adrenaline and other stress chemicals. Exercise burns up stress chemicals and promotes relaxation. Physical activity is another helpful way to manage anxiety. Aim to do some physical activity at least three to four times every week, and vary your activities to avoid boredom.

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Five Ways Exercise Helps Anxiety

  1. Any physical activity pursued on a regular basis actually causes your brain to produce and release hormones called endorphins. Endorphins are called “feel-good hormones” because they enhance your sense of well being.
  2. Exercise gives your mind a chance to relax while negative and anxious thoughts take a back seat.
  3. Regular exercise takes focus and determination to fit it into your schedule. This and the fact that you are learning something new increases confidence. Losing a little weight, and increasing your fitness level naturally makes you feel better about yourself.
  4. Most exercise regimes put you into a position to socialize with other people. Even walking a few times a week gives you a chance to walk with a partner or just exchange a smile with other people.
  5. Replacing other “unhealthy” coping methods such as drinking, feeling sorry for yourself, and sleeping with exercise is definitely better for anxiety relief.

Exercises for Anxiety?

Actually, (even though I use both terms interchangeably) exercise and physcial activity are two different things.

  • Exercise is when you intentionally plan any repetitive body movement that raises your heart rate for an extended period of time. Twenty minutes is about the minimum time for results.
  • Physical activity is anything that involves using energy. Many people use physical activity at work as an excuse to shun regular exercise. However, very few jobs at work actually raise your heart and breathing rate for an extended period of time.

Even though both are beneficial to your health, the real emotional, mental, and health improving benefits come with exercise that forces your heart rate up.

The simple reason for this is when your heart rate goes up, your body calls for more oxygen. When this happens, you are Oxygenenating and improving the health and well being of every cell in your body.

If you’re new to getting exercise, this list should help spur your imagination:

  • Spending 45 minutes to an hour in a gym
  • Jogging/running
  • Any cardio machine such as an exercise bike or treadmill
  • Walking is great if you set a pace just fast enough to raise your heart rate. You don’t need to speed walk, just walk at a brisk pace.
  • Basketball
  • Dancing
  • Tennis
  • Trampoline
  • Swimming

You can see from that partial list, that there’s a wide range of activities that will help your mood and anxiety levels.

However:
You must know I am more than a fan of exercising several times a week, but that doesn’t mean heart pumping workouts are the only option. Just doing any physical activity that’s not at work will work wonders. Wash the car, rake the leaves, mow the lawn. The key is to get up, get outsides and move.

How much is enough?

All the research I’ve investigated indicates that you can significantly reduce and improve anxiety symptoms with a minimum of 30 minutes 3-5 days a week.

But, let’s face it: if you can get 10 to 15 minutes a day you will help the situation. Just be aware that the more minutes and more often you exercise, the more likely you are to see improvements.

Choose an exercise that you can stick to over the long haul. The benefits of exercising may only last as long as your regime.

How to Stay Motivated to Exercise?

Starting and sticking with an exercise routine or regular physical activity can be a challenge. Here’s 5 tips to help you stay motivated:

  1. Don’t be hard on yourself. It can be difficult to work exercise into your schedule, and there are days when you really have to make yourself do it. Be careful that you don’t give yourself permission to stop altogether if you skip a day. Just get back to it the next day.
  2. Do something you can enjoy. You may have to try several different exercises but it’s best to choose something from the start that you think you will like and stick to.
  3. Exercise is not a work assignment. If you have a mind set that exercise is something bad that you force yourself to do, it won’t last. Instead think of it as something positive you do for your life, anxiety, and well being.
  4. Set doable goals. To start with, if you are presently a couch potato it’s not likely that you will stick to a plan to immediately start running 5 miles a day? Make your goals reasonable and fit in with your present fitness level.
  5. What’s stopping you? If you feel like exercising will help anxiety but just can’t make your self do it, figure out why. If you’re shy about working out by yourself, find a exercise partner. If you don’t have funds for a gym membership, walk around the neighborhood or a park.

Should I Check With My Doctor?

Checking with your doctor before starting any exercise program is always a good idea; especially if there’s any doubts about your physical fitness level.

A doctor can help you decide which activities are best suited to you personally, and how much to do. And your doctor will know how medications you’re taking will affect you and your ability to exercise.

Exercise will almost always ease anxiety symptoms, but may not be a cure all. So don’t substitute exercise for anxiety for any other medications or therapies you are presently involved with.

Walking Is The Best Exercise For Anxiety

Remember now, we’re not selling anything here!  We are speaking the truth.  And the truth is that you need to be walking no less than 5 days a week.

Walking or jogging is the best exercise for anxiety.

Walking becomes a continuous rhythmic movement of your body that sooner or later encompasses your entire body and merges it with your mind.  When that happens each day, there is a cleansing of your mind that reaches deep within your soul, where your peace is.

This cleansing is real, and brings real relief from anxiety, stress, worry, and general bad health.

A minimum of 30 minutes of brisk walking on a walking track, around the block, down the street, on the shoulder of a major highway.  Just walk!

Not the walking you do at the requirement of your job.  That will never have any affect on your stress, anxiety, heart health, or ability to dismiss the garbage that has collected in your mind.

Summary

Your exercise program will begin to naturally ease anxiety symptoms and release feel good hormones immediately, but you are so accustomed to feeling bad and anxious that it will take a week or two before you even get a hint of how much better you feel.

The most important thing is to avoid making excuses. Starting to exercise doesn’t need to be a radical change in your life. Don’t look at it that way!

Instead just choose something and get started. Start out easy, and you will be surprised at the difference exercise makes, because exercise really does help anxiety.

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