Anxiety disorders are a collection of mental health issues that make you feel scared, nervous, and uneasy.
These disorders take a toll on your daily life, causing you to struggle with regular tasks and sleep. They even cause physical symptoms like sweating and heart palpitations. In this article, we will explore the connection between exercise and anxiety, including how exercise can reduce anxiety symptoms and why exercise is such an effective intervention.
How Common are Anxiety Disorders?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders globally, affecting an estimated 284 million people.
In India, the prevalence of anxiety disorders is around 10-20%, with women being more likely to be affected than men.
That is why many hospitals in India have mental health departments and specialist psychiatrists who treat these disorders. Many private mental health clinics and facilities also offer treatment for anxiety disorders in India and other nations.
Also, around 40 million adults in the United States deal with anxiety disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). That makes it the most common mental health issue in the country.
Since anxiety is a common condition that affects many of us and makes life challenging, did you know that exercise can help manage it?
Not only does it have physical benefits, but it also improves your mood, reduces stress, and increases your sense of well-being.
Regular exercise has a positive impact on reducing anxiety symptoms, improving sleep, and promoting relaxation.
Have you ever felt the power of exercise on your body and mind?
When you exercise, your heart rate and blood flow increase, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your body.
This boost in circulation positively impacts your physical and mental health, including your mood.
Exercise also releases endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, which improve your mood, reduce stress, and leave you feeling relaxed and calm.
It is also a distraction from negative thoughts and refocuses your attention on the present moment, which is especially helpful for those having the disorder.
Exercises for Managing Anxiety
Since, anxiety disorders come in various forms, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias, exercising is an effective way to manage symptoms of anxiety. Also, exercise can help individuals with anxiety develop a sense of control and increase their self-esteem. It is crucial to speak with a healthcare professional to determine the proper type and amount of exercise appropriate for each individual with anxiety.
We’ll cover four commonly recommended exercises for managing anxiety: aerobic exercise, resistance training, mindfulness-based exercise, and recommended exercises for anxiety.
● Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercises like running, cycling, or swimming help you manage anxiety. This exercise increases your heart rate and blood flow, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to your body, which helps regulate your mood. Plus, the endorphins released during aerobic exercise reduce your stress.
● Resistance Training
Resistance training, like weightlifting or bodyweight exercises, is another way to tackle anxiety. This exercise boosts your confidence, reduces tension, and improves your overall mood. Plus, resistance training can improve your sleep quality, which anxiety disrupts.
● Mindfulness-Based Exercise
Mindfulness-based exercises like yoga or tai chi combine physical movement with mindfulness and meditation.
This exercise is helpful for people with anxiety as it focuses on the present moment and helps release negative thoughts and feelings. Plus, mindfulness-based exercise reduces stress and improves overall mood.
● Other Recommended Exercises
Aside from aerobic, resistance, and mindfulness-based exercises, other activities also help manage anxiety.
Outdoor activities like hiking or gardening connect you with nature and provide fresh air, which reduces anxiety symptoms.
Light stretching or gentle yoga can also be beneficial in reducing its symptoms.
Incorporating Exercise into Your Treatment Plan
When managing anxiety, it’s crucial to take a comprehensive approach.
Exercise, therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes can also play a huge role.
But before you start any new exercise routine, it’s crucial to talk to your doctor to ensure it’s safe and suitable for you.
Take Control of Your Anxiety
Exercise is a great way to deal with anxiety and improve your quality of life.
By making physical activity a part of your routine, you can take control of your anxiety symptoms and improve your mood and well-being.
Don’t hesitate to contact a doctor or mental health professional for support and guidance.