Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Can Exercise Really Help Anxiety?

Being anxious every once in a while is a part of life as challenges occur, life circumstances change or something feels unknown. But if those feelings of worry or fear are strong enough to interfere with your daily life, it's time to take action. Though it may seem counter-intuitive to bring your heart rate up when you are already at a heightened state, research shows that exercise can help tame mild anxiety.

So how does exercise actually help you feel less anxious? Well, let me tell you!
  • Exercise has a positive impact on the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, endorphins and dopamine...all of which make us feel good
  • Conversely, exercise reduces stress hormones like cortisol in the body.
  • Exercise can act as a healthy distraction and can interrupt worry or spiraling negative thoughts that feed anxiety
  • Exercising with someone (a friend, family member or personal trainer) can help ease your stress through social support
Okay, then what types of exercise helps reduce anxiety. This one is easy: whatever type of movement you enjoy! For example, yoga, walking, weight lifting, fitness classes, cycling and swimming have all been shown to reduce anxiety. And how long do you have to exercise to feel less stressed? Research shows as little as 2.5 hours a week can do the trick (that's just over 20 minutes per day).

So get out there (or stay in) and move your body when you are feeling anxious and see how exercise can help!

Note: If you are experiencing uncontrolled anxiety, panic attacks,etc, please contact your helath care professional or call/text a hotline. Click here for a list of numbers and services. You are not alone. 

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