Many people think of exercise as a chore. You may be one of them. But doing exercise for anxiety is an excellent and inexpensive way to help you manage and reduce your stress and anxiety.
Why do people exercise? Off the top of my head, these are probably the top 3 reasons:
• Helps you to lose weight
• Helps you to look better
• Helps you to feel better
The last one is what you are going for with anxiety and stress management. The other two are just great bonuses. Feeling better from the inside out can change your entire outlook on life. Sometimes, a stressful situation just needs a fresh attitude.
How Does Exercise Reduce Anxiety and Stress?
Exercise can boost your stress coping skills. First of all, exercise can help you to release those pent-up frustrations. Say you had a rough day at work. You missed a deadline for a project and your boss chewed you out. You scrambled all day to make up for it and by the end you couldn’t handle another thing.
Now, add an exercise class to that. Spending time performing aerobics, kickboxing, boxing or some form of martial arts can help you let out that stress through the movements. Your movements get more forceful each time. You can even envision yourself punching out your stressors (not your boss, lol) or kicking them away. You’ll have the best class of your life.
Second, exercise releases endorphins in the brain. It’s like your own personal St. Johns Wort or something. Whenever you want to lift your mood, go for a run outdoors or on the treadmill (if the weather is bad). Go for a swim or lift some weights. You are not only working your body and getting healthy but you will notice how much better you feel afterwards.
Third, exercise clears the mind and sharpens your focus. The brain utilizes more oxygen than any other part of your body. As you exercise regularly, your lung capacity will increase as you learn to breathe. This puts more oxygen into circulation in your bloodstream. That clarity combined with a change in mood, can help you arrive at a solution to a problem that has been causing you stress. You didn’t see it before because you were foggy with emotion and anxiety, but you see it now.
Fourth, exercise increases your productivity. Maybe part of your stress was stemming from being unhealthy. You were always tired and couldn’t meet the demands of your day. Now that you are working out on a regular basis, you have more energy. After a day at work, you can still come home and help with dinner for your family or sit and enjoy some time together instead of falling into bed.
Stress increases the amount of cortisol, a stress hormone, released into your body. Cortisol leads to weight gain. Exercise can limit cortisol production and help you lose weight also.
Are you shying away from exercise for various reasons? One really important reason (or rather four) to get moving is how much better you will feel and handle stress. Reduce stress, exercise more, get a move on today!
I wish you peace,