How Exercise Can Help Manage Your Anxiety
We all know exercise is good for the body, but what about the mind? Many studies show the inextricable links between exercise and mental health. Exercise is proven to decrease anxiety and help individuals manage stress.
One of the ways exercise relieves anxiety is by releasing feel-good chemicals into the brain that affect neurotransmitters. It also increases body temperature, which tends to induce feelings of calm. Learn more below about the link between exercise and anxiety, as well as how you can benefit from more physical activity.
What Research Says
While small doses of stress and anxiety are considered part of life, anxiety disorders, which affect roughly 40 million adults, are the most common psychiatric illnesses in the U.S. Although physical activity won’t cure anxiety, some studies have suggested that regular exercise can help decrease stress as much as anxiety medications.
Exercise produces endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act like natural painkillers and also improve sleep. Scientists have also found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease tension, improve self-esteem and elevate mood. Just five minutes of aerobic activity can be the jump start you need to stimulate the anti-anxiety effects in your body and mind.
Everyone has the potential to reap the mental and emotional benefits of exercise. However, some individuals are more prone to reaping such rewards than others, including those who:
- Participate in aerobic exercise
- Suffer from severe anxiety
- Are not already physically active
- Exercise consistently for several consecutive weeks
Tips to Manage Stress
Research shows that adults should aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, 1.25 hours of a vigorous-intensity activity or a combination of the two. Tips for using exercise as a way to relieve stress and anxiety follow:
- Dance, jog, run or walk three to five times a week for a total of 30 minutes.
- Aim for frequency rather than cramming all your workouts — albeit intense — into the weekend. Try to walk at least 15 minutes every day as a start.
- Find a workout that you enjoy. For example, if you consider yourself to be more extroverted, sign up for a group exercise class. If you’re the introverted type, solo pursuits like jogging or cycling may be a better choice.
- Be patient with yourself. If you’ve been mostly sedentary before starting your exercise routine, know that it may take anywhere from four to eight weeks to feel in shape to the point where exercise feels desirable.
Hire a Personal Trainer in Maryland
It’s one thing to understand the benefits of exercise in reducing stress and anxiety — it’s another to know where to hire a knowledgeable, experienced personal trainer. Excellence In Fitness Personal Training Studios is a professional and private one-on-one personal training studio offering complete and customized fitness programs catering to each client’s goals and needs. We’ll go above and beyond to make sure you feel comfortable, and we’re the only fitness program that offers five physical benefits — an increase in cardiovascular condition, flexibility and strength as well as improvement in body composition and injury prevention.
If you’d like more information on our personal training services, please reach out to us to arrange a free initial consultation and demo workout.