Anxiety and Exercise

Major Benefits for You.

Anxiety and Exercise. If you have anxiety you should consider the benefits of exercise. Check out the following information. It could be very helpful.

If you have been diagnosed with having anxiety in one or more of its forms your doctor will almost certainly prescribe drug therapies that aim or claim to reduce your anxiety symptoms. Even if you haven’t been formally diagnosed, if you are suffering the symptoms of anxiety you may be led to ask your doctor for something to help you. However, before you undertake a course of prescription anti-anxiety medication, consider natural remedies, including physical exercise.

Exercise can be just as good as prescription drugs for anxiety.

Many studies have shown that exercise can be just as good as prescription drugs in relieving the symptoms of anxiety. The important difference is that unlike these drugs exercise is totally free of negative side effects. The most likely side effect is that you have the additional benefits of becoming leaner and healthier. Exercising on a daily basis can drastically lower your anxiety levels while it contributes to your overall health.  The only real requirement is a pair of good shoes. Forget about the fancy equipment and expensive gear and go for the types of exercise, like walking, that are easy to do at any time.

Inactivity breeds many health problems.

In order for us to understand how exercise reduces anxiety levels we must first recognize that inactivity or being sedentary is one of the major culprits for many health problems including anxiety disorders. Although there is much speculation on the exact relationship between anxiety and exercise, many experts suggest the following:

One of the causes of anxiety is unused energy in the body.

The human body is designed to move. This is why we are made mostly of bones and muscles. However if a person spends most of their time being sedentary, then tension will then start to build up inside the body. This tension is caused by unused energy. It may manifest in the beginning as physical tension but later on it will develop into mental tension which can open the door to the symptoms of anxiety.

High levels of stress hormones can lead to anxiety.

Anxiety also serves as part of our fight or flight system. So, if an individual experiences anxiety and stress, his body is expecting him to fight or flight, and prepares instantly for it.

When a person experiences this kind of stress, his body will start releasing stress hormones such as cortisol. These stress hormones can be depleted with increased physical activity. This means that the more you move, the more chances your body will have in bringing those stress hormones back to normal levels.

On the other hand, if a person is not participating in any sort of physical activity, the body will be less likely to get rid of those stress hormones. If high levels of stress hormones remain in the body a person continues to feel agitated, leading to continued increased levels of anxiety.

Exercise therefore plays a huge role in regulating our body’s stress hormone levels. It is also important in improving one’s immune system. When a person refuses to exercise or to indulge in any physical activity he is keeping his body from working towards boosting the immune system and regulating the stress hormone levels.

Many individuals are not pre-disposed to physical exercise as they have not had many positive experiences with their previous exercise efforts. This could be part of the reason why those people who prefer to be sedentary are more prone to experiencing anxiety.
In addition, those people who do not like to exercise or make extra efforts to keep their bodies moving are prone to developing many health problems that bring about anxiety. If exercise is approached with the right attitude it can be found that exercise and physical activities provide people with fun and joyful moments. Make a plan, set goals and stay with your plan until it is a habit.

Managing Anxiety Symptoms with Exercise

Although the source of anxiety differs from one person to another, a lack of physical activity can be a contributing or even causative factor for many. However, whether the root cause of your anxiety is the lack of physical activity or not, exercising can definitely help you manage the symptoms of anxiety.

Managing anxiety entails including conscious efforts to help you develop positive behaviors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Of course, exercise is one of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle. An added bonus is that it is also one of the safest and best ways to bring down your levels of anxiety. Here are some of the reasons exercise helps you manage anxiety.

Exercise prevents inactivity.

We are all aware that exercise is the complete opposite of inactivity. If you take the time to exercise, you are giving your mind and body no room for the effects of anxiety to set in. Using exercise to focus your mind on your body is a very healthy way to distract yourself from anxiety-causing thoughts. This is true even if the lack of physical activity is not the main cause of your anxiety. Inactivity, on the other hand, can too easily result in negative, fretful mind churnings.

Exercise helps you sleep better.

One of the most common complaints of people suffering from anxiety is the difficulty of falling and staying asleep. Almost everyone sleeps better after some physical exertion, as the exercise tires their body enough to help them achieve a sound sleep at night. Sleep is the body’s natural way to recover and repair both mind and body. Quality sleep is important not only in managing anxiety but also in achieving optimal health. Sleep replenishes lost energy and gives feelings of refreshment and relaxation which is hugely assists in reducing anxiety levels.

Exercise enables your body to release feel-good hormones.

One of the main reasons why exercise should be included in every anxiety management program is that exercise has effects on the body that are very much similar to what anti-anxiety drugs provide. When you exercise, you are giving your body the chance to release those feel good hormones that greatly reduce your symptoms of anxiety.

These feel good hormones are also called natural painkillers. The body releases these endorphins as its natural response towards exercise to prevent you from experiencing pain during the exertion required. Besides acting as natural painkillers, these feel-good hormones are also beneficial for regulating one’s mood and in providing feelings of relaxation.

Exercise is an effective anxiety coping tool.

Exercise is not only beneficial to physical health, but is also an effective coping tool for people plagued with anxiety because it provides them with activities that bring about positive thoughts and emotions. This is especially true if you are exercising with a group of people. But even if you are exercising alone, while the music is playing on your iPod you will feel good not only physically but emotionally and mentally as well. All these factors and feelings contribute towards improved ability to manage anxiety.

There are many reasons why exercise is an effective tool for coping with anxiety symptoms. Start exercising today and discover for yourself the plethora of benefits that exercise provides.

Exercise Programs For Anxiety Management

The thought of “exercising” can bring about plenty of mixed emotions in many people. Some people, especially those that are sports minded, love starting their day with a few moments of their exercise regime. However for many exercising is not something they want as part of their day, or is considered at best a necessary evil. Either way it is important to start.

Many people will only start thinking about the benefits of exercise when they begin to feel the effects of poor lifestyle choices on their mind and body. In addition to the more obvious physical effects of a sedentary lifestyle, are symptoms relating to mood and behavior.
Correct styles and duration of exercise will help reduce the feelings of anxiety and stress that you may be experiencing every day.

Before Starting Any Exercise Regimen

If you are someone who has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, then planning and carrying out an exercise plan should be a matter of priority, if you are not already doing so. Of course, starting an exercise regimen is not easy to do for those who have not been doing any exercise at all.

Getting started is the hardest part. Don’t push too hard and become disillusioned; every step is a winner. Exercise, like all good habits, gets easier the more regularly it is performed. Many, many people have begun exercise programs begrudgingly, but now resent it if their daily walk has to be cancelled!

It is important to remember that you do not have to exercise intensely. What matters most is for you to get your body moving. A good exercise program is progressive, start small and build up, in both intensity and duration. This means if you are walking start with a short walk at a comfortable pace, increasing both distance and speed as your body adapts.

If you are starting on a weight lifting program, start with light weights. Stop when discomfort is felt. As you become more experienced and familiar you’re your body’s responses, you will be able to increase both weights and length of workouts. Consulting your health care provider is a must before starting any exercise activity especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

Ways to Start Exercising

It is not necessary to undertake a formal ‘exercise program’ to reap the benefits of increased physical activity. Look at your own circumstances and find ways to increase your effort and activity in small but effective ways. The benefits of exercise are cumulative, meaning that all the little efforts each day add up to benefit your mental and physical well-being. Consider the following:

* Do some stretching exercises.

If your work requires you to sit for the entire eight-hour shift, you should stand and do some stretching every now and then. Never let an hour pass without performing any stretching exercises. If possible, make an effort to stand and stretch every fifteen minutes.

* Start walking whenever you can.

Whether you are at home or in the workplace, spend time walking. Walking is such a good way to exercise. It allows your entire body to move without necessarily putting undue strain on any parts of your body.

When you are at work, find ways to stand and walk. Never answer a phone call just sitting. Walk to and fro until the call ends. Place the photocopying or fax machine a few feet away from your desk so you will be forced to walk whenever you need it. The same thing can be done with your water dispenser. When you are at home, take time to go out and do some brisk walking around your yard or neighborhood.

* Take part in sports.

Aim for low-impact sports and choose a sport which truly interests or you might not stick to your routine. It is important that you love what you are doing so you will enjoy every minute of your exercise program and be able to reap the benefits. Consider the non-physical demands of some sports as well. Some may be very competitive, precise or demanding and may add to your anxiety symptoms.

Find an exercise routine that is right for you and use it as part of your anxiety management program.