Exercise can help to relieve tension and boost your mood, reduce anxiety levels and treat or prevent depression, high blood pressure and other medical conditions.
Exercise helps release stress hormones and produce endorphins – chemicals which produce positive feelings in your brain that boost mood and make you feel good – as well as improving sleep which in turn decreases stress hormone production in your body.
1. Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise – which refers to any activity that increases your heart rate – can be invaluable in managing anxiety and depression. Running, swimming, cycling, rowing a boat or taking an aerobics class online are great ways to get the blood pumping and improve mood.
Studies have demonstrated that short-term aerobic exercise has an immediate and beneficial impact on mood and anxiety levels, unrelated to intensity or length of workout; its effects even remain apparent several hours post exercise session.
The American Diabetes Association recommends engaging in at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity daily to maintain good cardiovascular health and mitigate anxiety and depression symptoms. Exercising can reduce stress hormone build-up that contributes to anxiety episodes as well as decrease chances of recurrence for those diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
2. Strength Training
Exercise has many ways of relieving anxiety and depression, including the release of feel-good endorphins that reduce feelings of distress. Exercise also improves sleep quality while decreasing stress hormones levels in your system.
One effective strategy for amplifying these effects is through strength training, which involves using weights, machines or bodyweight exercises to build muscle mass. Although strength training is typically more challenging than aerobic workouts, it can still provide invaluable relief from anxiety and depression symptoms.
Researchers discovered that those suffering from anxiety who participated in strength training two to five days per week for eleven weeks found significant reduction in symptoms of worry. Furthermore, participants reported increased self-confidence and were better equipped to handle any stress they might be feeling due to their worries.
More research needs to be conducted, but one theory suggests that workouts helped individuals develop “feelings of mastery” over time as they became stronger and lifted heavier weights. Exercise may have also stimulated molecular changes within muscles and brains that contributed to positive emotions according to lead researcher Brett Gordon from Ireland’s University of Limerick.
Yoga can be an extremely useful tool in managing anxiety and depression, and as an alternative treatment approach.
There are various styles of yoga available, for both beginners and advanced classes. Certain variations emphasize mindfulness techniques that could prove particularly helpful for people struggling with mood or anxiety disorders.
One major benefit of yoga is its accessibility; finding classes near home should not be an issue, while its low costs make it possible for even those experiencing depression or anxiety to afford this practice.
One of the best poses to help manage anxiety is Butterfly Pose. By crossing your legs with spine straight and shoulders retracted, this pose helps rebalance your center of gravity and make you feel strong even during stressful situations.
Though many may view exercise as a means to physical fitness, research indicates it also plays a crucial role in mental wellbeing. Exercise has been proven to reduce symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.
Exercise offers similar effects as meditation or medication, yet its results tend to last longer and be even more beneficial. Therefore, making regular physical activity part of your daily schedule should be considered an asset.
One study demonstrated that individuals who engaged in regular 30-minute walks had lower anxiety levels than those who sat most of the time. Researchers speculate that walking helps alleviate stress because it forces you to focus on something other than your worries, which helps alleviate your tension.
Walking can also improve cognitive abilities and increase energy. Walking also serves to clear your mind – which can be especially helpful for those suffering from mental health conditions.