Having anxiety is a difficult situation that can disrupt your day-to-day life. “Anxious thoughts activate the limbic system — the fear center in our brain — and it’s on a hair-trigger,” says psychologist Scott Bea, PsyD. However, despite the barriers that it can bring, it can be managed in multiple ways. One excellent way to deal with anxiety is through regular and proper exercises. Physical activities and working out can have positive physical and psychological effects on the body. Practicing this habit will ensure that your anxiety will not come as often and stop you from living your best life.
Effects Of Exercise On Mental Health
Engaging in physical activity is an essential part of therapy in managing anxiety. Exercise is most encouraged by doctors because of its positive effects on the physical and mental health of a person. First of all, working out can distract your mind from negative thoughts that can feed your anxiety. It makes you feel good because of the endorphins released by your brain when you exercise. According to Jenny C. Yip, PsyD, endorphins are “the body’s “feel-good hormones that can calm the mind and relax the body.”
Second, as physical activities reduce your stress, your risk for developing stress-related illnesses also decreases. More than that, you can be less affected by factors that can cause you stress.
Third, your physical health also improves because exercise can make you physically fit and more immune to illnesses and diseases. You’ll be less prone to colds and flu, and you will have better endurance and a stronger overall being.
Fourth, exercise can also be a great way to find social support. Workouts and physical activities can get you to engage with groups that can give you additional motivation and support. Being around people can help boost your mood, instead of being isolated in your room most of the time.
Lastly, exercise can help to boost your confidence and self-esteem. When you see improvements in your body, you will undoubtedly feel better about yourself. You will feel more comfortable about going out and doing things that you thought twice about doing before.
Kinds Of Exercise To Help With Anxiety
Before starting an exercise program, it is best to have a consultation with your doctor. Doing this will assure that the level of intensity is suitable for your condition. Here are some exercises that you can try to help with your anxiety:
- Aerobic exercises. Doing activities such as running, swimming, and cycling can be very beneficial in the long term. But even with just one session, you can already experience its positive effects.
- Yoga. Different types of yoga can aid in healing the mind and body. Classes can be gentle or challenging, depending on your preference. “The evidence is showing that yoga really helps change people at every level,” says Stanford University health psychologist and yoga instructor Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.
- Tai Chi. Tai Chi is an exercise that includes rhythmic breathing and meditation while doing poses and body movements. It is excellent for reducing stress and lowering blood pressure.
- Other physical activities. You can do less intense activities in your home. Cleaning your room, gardening, washing your car, and taking walks can be considered light exercises.
Tips On Performing Exercises
On average, adults require at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for 3 to 5 days per week. However, short physical activities that range from 10 to 15 minutes can be enough for you to improve every day. Take note of these tips to help you:
- Commit to your exercise plan.
- Get yourself a workout buddy.
- Find exercises that you enjoy.
- Be patient with encountering setbacks.
- Find support from a mental health professional.
Remember, exercise can only produce its beneficial effects if you can stick to it regularly for the long run. Good luck!