How Exercise Can Prevent Stress and Anxiety

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According to the Anxiety and Depression Society of America…

“Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.”

This may seem counterintuitive. Exerting the body in strenuous ways can actually DECREASE stress.

Often, when people experience anxiety they think “calming down” is the only solution. Of course, training the body and mind with conscious relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindful breathing can be a huge asset to those who suffer from chronic stress and anxiety.

But an often overlooked factor is that anxiety often includes symptoms of increased blood flow to the exterior limbs. This could represent the body actually “asking” for some physical activity. So the next time you are experiencing stress and anxiety, go for a walk, a run, or a swim.

Aerobic exercise is important, as it offers the above-mentioned benefits of hormonal balance, improved sleep, and less stress.

Other calming exercises are also beneficial, such as gentle swimming, tai chi, and yoga.

The experience of anxiety and stress can happen when the bodies adrenaline (fight or flight-hormone) and cortisol (stress-hormone) kick in when you are going about our daily tasks or you find yourself at work. In those moments,  can’t just run a lap around the office to “get it out of your system”. (Or can you?!)

At any rate, when you find yourself experiencing extreme stress and anxiety—and you can take an exercise break—do it. Even 10 or 20 minutes of exercise will bring the natural stress and anxiety relief benefits the Anxiety and Depression Society of America outlines.

Not enough time in the day for exercise? To stressed to de-stress?

The solution to stress and anxiety for many may be simple:

Exercise in the morning before work or the start of your busy day.

This way, you make it a priority. Again even just 10 to 20 minutes of exercise can be helpful to those who suffer from chronic stress, anxiety, and even depression.

So don’t tell yourself “I don’t have time.”

Do you have 10 minutes to eat? Do you have 10 minutes to take a shower? Do you have 10 minutes to watch TV or surf social media?

Then you have 10 minutes to exercise.

The benefits of exercising in the morning—decreased stress & anxiety during the day. 

Physical activity, working out, sweating, running, dancing, swimming—you name it—can all help you decrease stress and anxiety. Why? Exercise offers up to 4 hours of stress-free experience during the day.

You might be a little tired or experience sore muscles, but overall, a day after a morning workout will give you mental energy, better moods from the natural dopamine it creates, natural physical energy from your own naturally produced adrenaline, and a pleasant feeling of strength and stamina as you go about your daily tasks.