Does Working out Help with Anxiety?

Living with anxiety can lead to a number of challenges, such as struggling to let your body really relax and having high-stress levels. Luckily there are many things that can help a person cope and deal with anxiety, as well as manage stress. 

Does physical exercise benefits anxiety?

Though everyone is different, physical exercise has been linked to helping with anxiety. However, the answer to whether physical exercise benefits anxiety is not so simple. It depends on the level of anxiety and in the midst of experiencing anxiety, physical exercise and placing more stress on your body can do more harm than good. 

Anxiety can bring about an experience of chest tightening, rapid breath, and other physical responses where it can feel as though there is an excess of energy or adrenaline in your body. When this energy has been building up in your body and mind and it has not been released, that can make it difficult for your body and mind to come back to a state of rest. When you get physical exercise in, you are able to release that energy and the adrenaline that may have built up during an experience of anxiety. 

How can I work out if I have social anxiety?

Let’s first go over what social anxiety is before going into how to workout with it. 
Social anxiety is a fear of being watched and judged by others, that can be triggered by being in or thinking of being in group environments and social situations.  

That being said, working out in a gym or going to a fitness class may not be the best fit for someone with social anxiety. So what can you do? Thanks to fitness apps that are available nowadays, you can easily work out in the privacy of your home or any place you feel comfortable. You can use 30-Day Fitness Challenge for example, for tailored workouts and many plans to choose from. 

If you find that being in nature helps your anxiety, and you feel comfortable at a local park during a certain time of day when there are a fewer people, for example, this is a great environment for you to complete an outdoor workout! 

What are the best workouts for anxiety?

Here are a few types of workouts that are beneficial to anxiety-prone people.  

  1. Walking. Walking is a way to get movement in, but to not put too much stress on your body. If you experience higher levels of anxiety, this might be the form of exercise that feels the most comfortable for you.
  1. Yoga. Yoga is a wonderful workout for both your body and mind. It is grounding and helps you to focus on your movements and on your breath, both of which are highly beneficial for those that experience yoga. The meditative aspect of yoga can also help teach you stress management techniques to use in your daily life to cope with anxiety.
  1. Running or swimming. When you do a cardio workout, your heart rate goes up and you can reach that euphoric feeling. Many people also find the repetition in swimming and running meditative, which can help to reduce anxiety.
  1. HITT. Depending on your level of anxiety, HITT or High-Intensity Interval Training might help as it releases those mood-boosting ‘happy chemicals’. 
Physical activity is a lifestyle habit that can really help to cope with anxiety. It’s important to remember that may have worked at one point may not work at another, so you want to be open to trying new things and learning what helps you, as no two people’s experience with anxiety is the same.

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