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Exercise Is Helpful for Anxiety: Here's How to Make It Routine

June 6, 2024 Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

I've found exercise can help with anxiety. In my experience, physical activity allows me to release emotions that I am feeling, helps me feel less tense, and helps improve my sleep. Since developing a regular routine, I've noticed my anxiety has been helped by the exercise.

Years ago, I found that my anxiety would make it difficult for me to function throughout the day. Not only was I having difficulty sleeping, but I also found myself feeling paralyzed, as though I wasn't able to function. I would often feel irritable and tense, and I would want to isolate myself from the rest of the world.

How Exercise Is Helpful for Anxiety

At this point in my life, I had exercised here and there simply for the purpose of trying to stay healthy, but I had not yet learned enough about how exercise could help reduce anxiety and boost mood. However, I started to learn more about the benefits of exercise and how it could help anxiety.

For example, exercise helps distract you from stressors, helps decrease muscle tension, and increases brain chemicals associated with mood, such as serotonin.1 Additionally, it helps release endorphins, which are also brain chemicals associated with how you feel.2

The more I learned about the benefits of exercise, the more I paid attention to how it helped me feel better. I began sleeping better, experienced fewer headaches, and found that I was increasingly more resilient in situations that triggered my anxiety. Moreover, my self-confidence and self-esteem increased as well.

How to Make a Routine of Exercise to Help Anxiety

I learned I had to be consistent with my exercise routine. I could not just exercise here and there as I previously had and expect that I would be better equipped to manage my anxiety. As I had learned at that point, anxiety is often something you experience without an identifiable cause.

So, it was important for me to make sure that, as someone who had already struggled with chronic anxiety for years, I was better equipped when encountering a stressful situation. This included making sure that I took care of myself through physical activity, and so, as a result, I ensured this was part of my routine.

The steps that I took to make anxiety-helping exercise a part of my routine included:

  • I made sure exercise was a priority. I scheduled exercise into my day and began treating it like it was a meeting or appointment that I couldn't miss.
  • I incorporated exercises I enjoyed. At that point, I had gone through many different types of exercise regimens, but it wasn't until I began exercising in a way I found enjoyable that it started to be motivating and something I wanted to keep going back to.
  • I started setting goals. It is still something I do, and it helps to keep me motivated and experiencing positive emotions rather than negative emotions. It also helps with distraction, which helps take my mind off anything I am worried about.

Try these steps to help you incorporate exercise into your routine to help with your anxiety.

In what ways have you noticed that exercise helps with your anxiety? Share them in the comments below.

Sources

  1. Ratey, J. J., MD. (2019, October 24). Can exercise help treat anxiety? Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-exercise-help-treat-anxiety-2019102418096

  2. Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms. (2023, December 23). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495

APA Reference
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2024, June 6). Exercise Is Helpful for Anxiety: Here's How to Make It Routine, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2024/6/exercise-is-helpful-for-anxiety-heres-how-to-make-it-routine



Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

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