Exercise has long been found to settle those anxious thoughts and feelings that can crop up at any time of the day. Exercise works for people with chronic and ongoing anxiety issues. While it is important to follow your doctor’s orders and take any recommended medication, there are many natural ways to help prevent this debilitating feeling from affecting your life.
Studies show that is takes about 20 minutes for exercise to reliably reduce anxiety and those studies confirm that working out results in feelings of calm following a workout.
In order for exercise to be truly effective in reducing and managing anxiety, it pays off to exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, 5 to 6 days per week.
There are two major forms of exercise-aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise. Both have their place in anxiety disruption and relief. Of the two, aerobic exercise works best because it releases nervous energy, improves blood circulation, and is fun and exhilarating.
Forms of Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise is any exercise that gets your blood flowing by increasing the heart rate and increasing the volume of blood through the body. Common forms of aerobic exercise include walking, running, swimming, and cycling. Even tasks like gardening, golf, and team sports go a long way in releasing muscle tension and reducing anxiety.
You can engage in the same workout or even switch it up to prevent boredom, and to reap the fitness benefits that come with challenging the body with different routines.
You need to be committed to at least thirty minutes of exercise every day but it doesn’t have to be done all at the same time. The longer you keep your heart rate up, the better will you have a positive effect against stress and anxiety. The exercise you do doesn’t have to be exhausting or intense. It just has to stimulate your heart.
There is some evidence to suggest that exercising with a partner or in a group will discharge your excess energy because you can always talk and make connections with others while you are exercising. Talking with others alone can reduce your anxiety levels while you are exercising.
You can even join a team with ongoing camaraderie and competition in team sports like bowling, softball, or basketball. The friendships you make while exercising as a team will improve your interpersonal skills and make you less anxious about being in groups of people.
Failing to do enough aerobic exercise is one of the mistakes that people with anxiety problems make, and especially when they are in the throes of an anxiety attack. Anxiety, panic, and fear can be immobilizing, but it is important to force yourself to move to drain this negative energy from your body.
When you feel anxiety coming on, get up, and get moving. The anxious energy will be replaced by an environment in which you feel positive, anxiety-reducing endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that will induce feelings of calm, euphoria, and general happiness.
Forms of Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise is less physically active than aerobic exercise. Your heart rate will increase to a lesser degree than with aerobic exercise but you will still experience some relief of anxiety while you do the exercises. Anaerobic exercise usually includes things like weight training and exercise on weight machines. These exercises will both tone your muscles and increase your muscle mass. You will carry around more muscle and less fat and there is an endorphin release with anaerobic exercises that can help relieve anxiety. Endorphins simply make you feel good and they dissipate anxious feelings.
You can combine aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise by doing circuit training. This involves going from one weight lifting activity to another without a long break in between. Your heart does get pumping faster and stronger with this type of training and you have the ability to create a leaner, stronger body while reducing anxiety.
The good news is that just about any physical activity will enhance your ability to fight off stress. Try to take part in at least 30 minutes of heart-healthy exercise every day for the maximum of anxiety release.
The Sleep Connection
One of the main issues that plague people with anxiety is poor sleep, and quality sleep is one of the most important elements in enjoying calm and peaceful days. Regular exercise helps facilitate better sleep patterns that can help to alleviate anxiety on a regular basis.