When you are suffering from anxiety or depression, exercise occasionally seems to be the last activity that you’d like to do. But when you’re driven, exercise makes such a tremendous difference.
Exercise assists in preventing and enhancing several health conditions, which include diabetes, hypertension, and arthritis. Studies on anxiety, depression, and exercise reveal that the physical and psychological advantages of exercise could also help lower anxiety and improve mood.
The connection between anxiety, depression, and exercise isn’t exactly clear, but workouts and other types of physical activity can absolutely alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms and make you feel good about yourself. Exercise may also prevent anxiety and depression from reappearing once you feel better.
How Exercise Helps
- It develops your self-confidence. Achieving your exercise challenges or goals, even the minor ones, can improve your self-esteem. Working out can also improve your looks and your overall image.
- Exercise releases happy hormones or endorphins, which are brain chemicals and other natural chemicals in the brain that can boost your mental and physical well-being.
- It takes your mind off of your anxieties so that you can get rid of the cycle of negativity that contributes to anxiety and depression.
- Engaging in physical activity can offer opportunities to socialize and interact with other people. Simply exchanging a few words or friendly greetings around the neighborhood can definitely help lighten your mood.
- Exercising increases positivity and helps you control your anxiety and depression in a healthy way. Drugs or alcohol may briefly take away your worries or fears, but when the effects subside, your symptoms will worsen.
Jogging, playing volleyball or basketball, weight lifting, and other physical activities that can release your sweat, activate your muscles and get your body moving can help, but so does hobbies like gardening, cleaning the house, and doing the laundry. Any activity that gets your butt off your seat and moving can improve your mood and your overall physical and mental state.
It’s not necessary to perform all your exercises and other hobbies at the same time. Widen your perspective of exercise and identify means to add minor amounts of physical activity spread throughout the day. For instance, use the stairs at work rather than riding the elevator. Don’t park across your workplace – park a few blocks away so you can walk several meters every day. Or perhaps you could bike your way to work or to the supermarket.
At least thirty minutes or more of physical activity daily for about four to five days a week can considerably alleviate anxiety or depression symptoms. However, minor activities, say, ten to fifteen minutes frequent times a day also can make a difference. On the other hand, it takes lesser time to exercise and improve when you do more strenuous activities like bicycling or running.
The mental health benefits of physical activity and exercise may continue to be there only if you do them continuously, which is another great reason to concentrate on finding activities that you love to do.
How To Get Started
Getting started and sticking to an exercise regimen regularly can be daunting. But these tips can definitely help:
- Create sensible goals. Your task does not need to be walking for hours daily for a week. Be realistic about what you are capable of doing and start slowly. Customize your plan to your capabilities and your needs instead of setting idealistic protocols that you probably won’t be able to do.
- Do not consider exercise as an option. Think about your exercise regimen schedule the way you think about your medications or your therapy sessions – as instruments that help you improve and be better.
- Find activities that you love to do. Identify what forms of physical activities you love to do and are capable of doing. For instance, would you enjoy doing the laundry in the morning, after you do your 30-minute run, or skip that today so you have time and energy to play ballgame with your kids after school?
- Consider your limitations. Find out what’s keeping you from exercising or being physically active. If you are not comfortable, you might wish to exercise inside your home. If you are able to perform optimally with a partner, invite your spouse or a friend who’s as interested as you to be healthy mentally and physically. If you’re not up for buying workout gear initially, do something that’s affordable or free, like walking or jogging.
- Get support from family, friends, and mental health professionals. Speak with your doctor or mental health provider for support and guidance. Talk about an exercise program and the ways that the routine can fit into your entire treatment plan.
- Be prepared for challenges and setbacks. Be grateful each time you take the right direction, whether it’s small or really small. If you can’t exercise today, it does not mean that you can’t continue with your routine and just quit. Try again tomorrow or the next day. What matters is that you stick with the routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
What exercise is best for anxiety?
Some great aerobic exercises that help deal with anxiety include running, tennis, dancing, swimming, brisk walking, and biking.
Does exercise help with anxiety?
The relationship between anxiety, depression, and exercise is not completely clear. However, working out and other types of physical activity can absolutely reduce depressive or anxious symptoms and improve your well-being. Exercise can also prevent anxiety and depression from emerging again once your condition has improved.
How long until exercise helps anxiety?
Doing aerobic exercises for five to ten minutes can already help improve one’s mood and decrease symptoms of anxiety, but regular aerobic programs that last from 10 to 15 minutes generally enhance one’s overall mental well-being.
How does exercise reduce stress and anxiety?
Exercise enhances your general health and well-being, which adds more life and energy to your everyday activities. Additionally, exercise provides several stress-reducing benefits, like increasing your body’s endorphins.
When To See Your Doctor
Consult with your doctor first before starting an exercise regimen to ensure that it’s safe. Discuss with him about how much activity, which types of activity and what degree of activity is fine with you. Your mental health provider will take into consideration your preexisting health conditions and the medications that you are currently taking. He may also offer sound advice about how to get started and how to stay committed.
If you are regularly exercising but your anxiety or depression symptoms are continuously interfering with your everyday living, you should see your mental health provider and tell him about this. Physical activity and exercise are amazing ways to alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression, but they are not an alternative to medications or psychotherapy.