Regular exercise can work just as well as medication to help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and the positive effects can be long lasting. If you’re feeling anxious, an intense exercise session can help alleviate the symptoms for several hours. Exercising regularly may significantly reduce symptoms over time.
Anxiety disorders affect millions of people and are a normal part of their everyday life. They are the most common form of psychiatric illnesses. The benefits of exercise may well extend way beyond stress relief.
A 10-minute walk may be just as beneficial as a 45-minute workout for anxiety relief, and for many people exercise can quickly reduce feelings of depression. The effects gained from a brisk walk or some other activity can be similar to medication.
A physically active person can have a lower rate of anxiety and depression than an inactive person from doing regular exercise. The brain is able to cope better with stress, therefore improving mental health. Those participating in regular vigorous exercise are less likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. For some people, it can work equally as well as medication, and the effects can be long lasting.
Like all forms of therapy, the benefits of regular exercise vary from one person to the next. Some people may have positive results and others may find it does little to improve their mood, and the benefits are short term. The effects of exercise and the benefits gained are far reaching, and people should be encouraged to stay physically active.
What causes anxiety is not inactivity. For some people it is genetics. For others it is experiences they have had in their lives that have shaped their anxiety symptoms. If inactivity has caused your anxiety, then there is reason to believe that exercise may be one of the ways to manage it.
How much exercise should I do?
The recommended guidelines for adults considering some form of physical exercise is 2 ½ hours of moderate intensity activity like a brisk walk each week or 1 ¼ hours of vigorous activity such as jogging or swimming.
Management of anxiety is about performing behaviours on how to overcome anxiety, and exercise is potentially one of the best behaviours to adopt:
- Prevents Inactivity;
- Releases “Relaxation” Neurotransmitters;
- Burns Cortisol;
- Improves Sleep; and
- Is a Healthy Activity.
There are numerous other reasons why exercise may also assist with anxiety:
- It improves confidence.
- Good health is important for all mental health issues, and exercise is one sure way of ensuring your body is healthy. and
- With regular exercise your body runs more efficiently preventing any symptoms that may cause anxiety. It ensures that your body is
Exercises for relief
Getting up and moving is the most important thing you can do to prevent the symptoms of anxiety. If you regularly do something at least once a day like playing basketball or going for a bike ride, you will notice a difference over a period of time.
Exercising as intensely as possible will help with the release of endorphins, which are released from the brain during periods of strenuous exercise, emotional stress and pain. Endorphins help relieve pain and induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. You can try the following:
- Playing a Team Sport;
- Swimming; and
- Light Jogging.
Any type of physical activity will help with anxiety. The more you do, the more likely you are to see the results. Adding intensity to your exercise regime will burn away stress hormones. Following are some high intensity exercises you might want to consider:
- Long distance running;
- Gym membership; and
- Living a healthy lifestyle.
The more you exercise, the easier it will be for you to manage your anxiety.
Feeling anxious – try Dance
There are short
-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them. – Vicki Baum.
The impact of dance on our moods, emotions, attitudes and mental health is significant.
When music kicks in, how do you typically respond? Do you step back and take a deep breathe? Do you leave the room? Do you put on some music and dance? The last option may seem farfetched, but studies have shown that it could be an effective response.
“To witness release, self-expression and joy, watch someone dance with abandon”
Dance has been found to be an effective treatment for anxiety. It can be used as a method of accessing a peaceful state of mind.
“Tell me the last time you danced, and I will tell you the last time you were happy”
Studies have shown that dance in particular can decrease anxiety and boost mood more than other physical outlet.
Therapy can be a frightening word, but there are fun forms of anxiety therapy, and one of those is dance therapy.
Among all the different types of dancing, the tango helps with attention deficit issues and memory. The complex moves require concentration and new skill development, and the participants become wrapped up in what they’re doing and don’t have time to worry about anything else.
“Lose yourself in the music and movement”
You don’t have to attend dance therapy to get the benefits of dance. If you’re a bit shy or feel your dance moves aren’t that good, don’t let that stop you turning up the music and busting out some moves all by yourself. If you’re not up for the tango, below are a few other suggestions or just make up your own moves and “dance like no one’s watching”
- Ball room dancing;
- Line dancing;
- Hip hop; and