How You Can Use Exercise To Reduce Anxiety
Having a healthy mind is just as important as having a healthy body. And while our doctors continue to tell us to avoid unhealthy foods and lifestyles, we should also take care to avoid plaguing our mind with unhealthy thoughts and feelings.
A mind full of unhealthy and negative thoughts is the root of many anxiety conditions. Actions and decisions motivated by fear and panic can be just as unhealthy as the most cancerous diet on the planet. Our mind is just as important as our body, and we should take good care of it just the same.
But while exercise has been largely seen as a practice that strengthens and improves the body, researchers are now discovering that exercise has a more profound effect on us than just growing our muscles and shedding pounds of fat.
In fact, research has shown that exercise goes a long way to not only contributing to a healthier body; it also goes a very long way into shaping a healthy mind.
But how can something fundamentally physical affect you in a mental way? How can exercise reduce something as psychological as anxiety? And is it possible for exercise to eliminate anxiety completely?
The Effect of Exercise to Reduce Anxiety
Researchers and medical experts have managed to document a number of reasons on how exercise not only brings down anxiety, but stress levels as well. Here are just a handful of factors on the effects of exercise on anxiety:
- During exercise, the body releases adrenaline.
Adrenaline is usually associated with a feeling of energy. However, what most people don’t know is that if adrenaline isn’t released into the body, it gets stored up. Excess adrenaline that is pent up in the body makes us feel sick, and even nauseous, when anxious.
- During exercise, your heart is also given a work out.
People tend to forget that the heart is also a muscle that gets worked out during exercise. As the heart is strengthened, it allows blood to be pumped more efficiently through your body, allowing you to deal with stressful situations better.
- During exercise, endorphins are released into your body.
Endorphins are a hormone that give you a natural high when released into the blood stream. Endorphins are known to lift the mood and send signals of pleasure and contentment. This is why many athletes and exercise buffs continue with their routine day after day.
- During exercise, your mind is clear.
If you’re exercising properly and challenging your body; exercise can help you clear your mind and help you focus on the task at hand. It alleviates you of worry and concern since all you’re thinking about is hitting your goals for the session. As mentioned earlier, anxiety is rooted in negative feelings such as fear and depression. By clearing your mind of those thoughts, you can bring down your anxiety considerably.
- During exercise, you build your competitive spirit.
Exercise is all about pushing the limits of your body. Although it’s important that you don’t hurt yourself in the process, exercise trains you to overcome your limitations and face challenges head on. Regular exercise not only trains your body, but it also prepares your mind.
Suggested Exercises to Reduce Anxiety
When selecting an exercise to start with; it’s important to pick one that you are comfortable with. It’s immediately problematic if you’re looking to treat anxiety with exercise only to realize that exercise makes you anxious.
Competitive sports are a kind of exercise that most sufferers of anxiety tend to avoid. The pressure to perform alongside a team or against human opponents might prove to be too overwhelming at first. On top of that, if you’re concerned about going out too much to a public area (like the local gym for instance), maybe you can try an exercise you can do in the comfort and security of your own home.
As you continue with your exercise regimen, you’ll slowly gain the confidence to try other things. But for starters, here are some of the exercises you can do to reduce your anxiety:
- Jogging or Running
Running is a great place to start when exercising. If you’re worried about being seen outside the comforts of your own home, pick a time when there are few people on your route. An even better solution is to have an exercise partner who can run or jog alongside you. Alternatively of course you could use a treadmill at home, or even run or walk in place by lifting your knees and arms high but not going anywhere.
- Jump Rope or Aerobics
If you really feel you aren’t ready for the outdoors, just a few square meters of space in your home will still allow you to have a cardio routine like jump rope or aerobics.
- Weight lifting and Resistance Training
If you invest in your own set of weights and resistance training equipment; you can exercise inside your own home. You can start with your own set of dumbbells that won’t take up too much space and try different variations of exercises.
Yoga is just as much an exercise of the mind as it is of the body. Yoga relaxes the muscles and releases tension in the body, while at the same time clears the mind and refocuses your thoughts.
Remember, exercise is only effective if you do the right amount of it. For starters, aim to have a half an hour regimen you can accomplish at least two or three times a week, and grow from there as you see fit. Not only is exercise a simple and effective way of treating anxiety, it is also a natural way of keeping this debilitating condition in check.
Exercise to Reduce Anxiety: A Natural Treatment
Anyone who suffers from anxiety doesn’t need to be told how difficult it can be to try to live a normal life. Panic and anxiety attacks can easily overwhelm the senses and trap even the most stalwart of individuals. But there is a growing list of activities and natural treatments that help curb the symptoms of anxiety and panic – and exercise is one of them.
In fact, exercise is considered to be one of the most effective natural treatments for anxiety. Exercise is not only healthy for your body, it is great at alleviating the effects of anxiety, improving one’s mental health, and solidifying a positive attitude towards life.
Exercise is a completely natural practice. It does not require medication to become effective, and it does not require a special diet or medical regimen to be successful. Exercise simply requires routine and persistence, and though those two characteristics are easy enough to list on paper, they are quite challenging to maintain over a long period of time.
Motivation is a common problem when attempting to continue with an exercise regimen, especially when it becomes a deterrent to a busy schedule or to a family or career life that doesn’t allow for very much free time. The decision to exercise is definitely an easy one to make. It is also easy to spend on the gear, the clothes, and the gym membership to get you started. But the most difficult aspect of exercise is to keep at it for months, and even years, on end.
However, for those who have experienced the benefits of exercise first hand, exercise can easily become addicting. This is the fundamental reason for why millions of people continue with their exercise routine long after they’ve hit their fitness goals.
And in fact, the results of exercise can be felt immediately, especially from a mental standpoint. Though it can take weeks, and sometimes months, to see any lasting effects of exercise on your body, you can quite literally feel the effects of exercise as soon as you’re done with your routine.
Researchers have noted that people who exercise regularly tend to have a generally more positive outlook in life. They are predominantly happier and outgoing, even when they aren’t exercising; and are more inclined to be pro-active and secure with themselves.
Studies have also shown that exercise is also a great natural treatment for other mental conditions such as depression, for the exact same reasons that exercise is good for both anxiety and panic disorders.
However, the right kind of exercise routine differs from person to person. It is based on their fitness goals as well as their current physical condition. If you have never lived an active lifestyle, it is highly recommended that you first get in touch with your physician with regards your exercise routine.
Though it’s important to push yourself and your body, don’t do it at the price of permanent damage to yourself. Make sure that your initial goals and exercise routine is manageable for your needs. Make sure to follow the basic tips of exercise such as hydration and stretching before taking on a particularly gruelling routine (or any kind of fitness routine for that matter).
By making exercise a regular part of your life, you can easily get past the idea of exercise as a chore, and start seeing the benefits of exercise to both your mind and your body. Not only is exercise a great way of keeping in shape, it is also a great natural treatment for anxiety and stress reduction.