On some level, many of us understand that exercise benefits our mental well-being. Not surprisingly, however, this can be lost in the shuffle of busy schedules and myriad obligations. Amidst the endless parade of fitness crazes and trends, too, not enough focus is given to exercise benefits beyond toned biceps and bottoms.
Overall, physical exercise can address mental health problems like anxiety in a variety of ways. For starters, it can nip fear and worry in the bud before it takes hold. Also, for those who already struggle with an anxiety disorder, exercise has been found to actually lessen the severity of symptoms.
Let’s take a closer look at both anxiety and exercise below.
Some Anxiety Basics
Everyone feels some nervousness, worry, and fear in their life. With anxiety disorders, these feelings (and others) become pervasive. They interfere with daily functioning. While there are many effective treatment approaches, lifestyle choices are crucial daily management. Committing to a regular exercise routine can go a long way in getting you on a path to recovery from emotional distress and related physical fallout.
6 Ways Exercise Helps When Anxiety Has You Wired & Wound Up
1. It’s a Good Distraction
Anxiety is a physiological scene-stealer. When it emerges, it consumes so much of your time and energy that little else receives your concentration. The moment you give it attention, it begins to spiral. That’s why so many health professionals suggest ideas like meditation, deep breathing, or simply watching amusing YouTube videos.
Working out is also an excellent form of distraction. It requires concentration and mindfulness. Also, if you are in a gym, there is always the distraction of a shared experience with others. It’s an ideal setting for shutting down intrusive and spiraling thoughts for the sake of safety and interaction.
2. Exercise Helps Your Brain Manage Anxiety
When you exercise, you firm and tone and build muscles. You also help new neurons grow in your brain. This process is called neurogenesis. Studies suggest that neurogenesis can play a major role in relieving symptoms caused by anxiety. Your brain becomes more resilient and thus, better able to manage anxiety disorders.
3. You Feel Good and Good Deflects Anxiety
Are you familiar with endorphins? They are frequently called the “feel-good hormones.” A great way to release endorphins is to work up a sweat doing your favorite form of fitness. Endorphins reduce stress in a hurry. An elevated heart rate helps boost the feel-good hormone cycle through your system. Keep this in mind whenever you feel stressed, worried, or anxious.
4. General Stress Relief
Our bodies are designed to move. This could be dancing, punching a heavy bag, CrossFit, or any number of healthy activities. Find a routine that feels right for you, make it happen on a regular basis, and watch the tension melt away. You’re not giving anxiety the chance to occupy your mind and body. Technically speaking, your central and sympathetic nervous systems are working together in a powerfully therapeutic way.
5. Better Sleep
Lack of sleep makes everything more difficult — and anxiety is no exception. Sticking to an exercise regimen can dramatically increase the quality and quantity of your sleep. In turn, you become more fortified against the potential results of any mental health problem.
Stick to a fitness routine long enough and you’ll find you carry yourself with more confidence. A more confident version of you is almost always a less anxious version of you. The cycle continues when the reduction in anxiety further boosts your self-esteem.
How is Anxiety Impacting You?
No one ever has to struggle alone. Talk to a professional to get the guidance you need. I would love to help you heal and recovery in a safe, empowering environment. Read more about anxiety treatment. Let’s connect for a safe and confidential consultation at your earliest convenience.